Detroit Tigers: Is Kyle Lohse a Fit in Detroit?

Jun 10, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Kyle Lohse (26) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 10, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Kyle Lohse (26) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers rumors are swirling up again. Veteran starter Kyle Lohse, who has been connected to the Tigers, failed to sign with a team in the off-season. Does Detroit need his services?

Detroit Tigers pitchers have been impressive as a group this season. Unlike years past, the Tigers revamped bullpen has held down the back end of games to the point where many fans may even say they are confident with whoever trots out when the bullpen door swings open.

As for the players get the nod to start games, Tigers fans have seen a healthy mix of lights out starts and rough outings. No starter has struggled overwhelmingly to begin the season and even Mike Pelfrey, the only winless Tigers starter, has performed on par with most fifth starters.

While the Tigers are most likely flying somewhere over the Midwest on their off day traveling to Kansas City, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweeted Monday that the Orioles, Reds and Detroit Tigers were showing interest in free agent righty Kyle Lohse. These rumors come to no surprise after Lohse was connected to the Tigers among several other teams late in spring training.

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Heyman initially reported in March that the Tigers were looking at Lohse following a series of injuries to their pitching staff including Daniel Norris, Alex Wilson, Blaine Hardy and the oft-injured Anibal Sanchez. Along with performing great, the Tigers pitching staff is also regaining healthy.

Alex Wilson pitched his first game of the season in Houston pitching 1 1/3 innings of no hit baseball. Last years surprise out of the bullpen Blaine Hardy was activated from the disabled list after battling a shoulder impingement in spring.

The Detroit Tigers now have three left handed pitchers in the bullpen and none in the starting rotation. The lack of lefties in the rotation could end soon though as left handed starter Daniel Norris tossed four innings in a rehab start for Detroit’s Single-A affiliate the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Norris is rehabbing from a back injury sustained in spring training and could be slotted into the Tigers rotation when he is healthy.

So where would Lohse fit on this team? Lohse would presumably be a depth signing. After not having a spring training one can assume he would be relegated to the minor leagues in order to stretch out his arm in preparation to pitch at the big league level.

It has been reported (by Heyman) that Lohse has consistently been throwing 90 pitch bullpen sessions to stay ready should a team want to sign him during the season. The Detroit Tigers used 11 starting pitchers last season including the likes of Randy Wolf and Kyle Lobstein

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After injuries provided a scare in the off season and in spring training Tigers fans should now understand having depth is never a bad thing. There is no telling what Lohse would want in terms of numbers on his contract but it is reported (again by Heyman) that he has at least one offer from the Orioles.

Loshe has pitched with the Minnesota Twins, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies in parts of 15 major league seasons.

His career 4.37 ERA is better than that of Mike Pelfrey but is higher than the career ERA of Anibal Sanchez. Appearing in 37 games last season Lohse posted an unimpressive 5.85 ERA after four consecutive seasons of having a 3.54 ERA or lower. An important trait of Lohse is his ability to eat innings having pitched no less than 150 innings since 2010.

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Tigers fans are assuming Lohse would even want to come here. Lohse has been better in his career than some of the starters at the back end of the Orioles and Reds rotations. After signing veterans like former Detroit Tiger Alfredo Simon to bolster their rotation, the Cincinnati Reds are not expected to win a lot of games this season, and Lohse would almost certainly be able to secure a full time sport on their starting staff.

Even after the Orioles hot start many experts are not expecting the team do go far, mainly because of their weak rotation containing names such as Vance Worley and often injured prospect Dylan Bundy. Lohse may fit better with other teams meaning his interest in Detroit could depend on his interest on playing for a winning team.

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If the Tigers are able to land Lohse to a cost efficient deal he would be a low risk, high reward addition. Much like the additions of veterans Joel Hanrahan and Bobby Parnell, Lohse could float around in the minor leagues until he is needed at the big league level. If he even wants to be here that is.