The Detroit Tigers are reportedly looking at veteran right-handed starter Kyle Lohse in a move to improve the team’s depth heading into the season.
Even in the wake of Anibal Sanchez’ fantastic Spring Training debut, the Detroit Tigers are in the market for starting pitching depth. It would also appear that the team has a certain pitcher in mind to serve as said depth—Kyle Lohse.
According to a tweet from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, “Tigers… are emphasizing depth and have been eying kyle lohse.”
Coincidentally, we at this very site suggested that Detroit sign Lohse to serve as a swingman of sorts. You can read the link, but the CliffNotes version is that
The former Brewer’s numbers (5-13 record, 5.85 ERA, 108 strikeouts and 10.6 hits allowed per nine innings over 152.1 total innings) weren’t pretty in Milwaukee last season, but there are reasons to hope for better.
Reason for Optimism Should Detroit Sign Lohse
Right off the bat—pun intended—the veteran wasn’t helped by the Brewers on defense. Of pitchers with at least 150 innings pitched, Lohse had the 16th-highest BABIP in the league at .314. While his 5.12 FIP was still rather unsightly, it was much better than his 5.85 ERA.
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Lohse, who also shifted to the bullpen at one point, posted a 3.81 ERA in 28.1 innings pitched for the Brew Crew as a relief pitcher in 2015. It is a somewhat small sample size, but just big enough to suggest possible success in the bullpen.
What’s more, the 37-year-old could still provide some kind of value as a starting pitcher. The right-hander is only one season removed from a 2014 campaign that saw him post 13 wins a 3.54 ERA and a 2.5 WAR. In fact, from 2011 to 2014, Lohse accumulated 54 wins a 3.28 ERA and 520 strikeouts over 796.1 innings pitched. Over the same span, the former Cardinal was worth 12.4 WAR.
Quality Depth Piece, at Triple-A or Otherwise
Norris’ injury has opened the door for players like Buck Farmer, Kyle Ryan and Bobby Parnell to make the roster. The fifth rotation spot is still up for grabs, and multiple bullpen jobs could be had as well. If Detroit signs Lohse, and there are struggles, the former Cardinals pitcher could pitch in Detroit.
At the very least should the Detroit Tigers sign Lohse, he would be a quality depth piece. Even if the pitcher were to end up in Triple-A, it would still be an excellent addition.
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