Mark Attanasio signs Kyle Lohse to three-year deal | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

The Brewers told anyone that would listen this winter that they were content with their young starting rotation, and that they weren’t comfortable sacrificing a first round pick to sign free agent Kyle Lohse.

Then, the Brewers got to spring training, and apparently, they’ve now panicked. Jon Heyman broke the story of Lohse signing with the Brewers. Tom Haudricourt says the deal is for three (3!) years and $33 million (!!).

Since the Cardinals made a qualifying offer to Lohse at the end of last season, the Brewers will also have to surrender their 17th overall pick in the draft. More importantly, they also lose the money associated with that pick from their pool of cash to sign draft picks — in other words, not only do they lose the pick, but they’re not allowed to use that money to give more to guys later in the draft that may have slipped due to signability concerns.

The Brewers will explain the signing soon, but the timing is a bit curious. The move comes a day after Mark Rogers and Wily Peralta struggled in their respective split squad starts, and Mike Fiers has had his struggles, too. Opening Day is in a week.

Now, note the post title. This appears to be a move done above Doug Melvin’s head. For weeks there have been rumors about Scott Boras meeting with Mark Attanasio directly. Every report today on the deal has been sure to mention Attanasio’s involvement, and Haudricourt’s report makes it sound like Attanasio was the one negotiating with Boras, not Melvin.

Not quite George Steinbrenner signing Reggie Jackson, is it?

With Lohse joining the rotation, the Brewers now need to figure out who’s getting booted in this last week of camp. Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada and Chris Narveson have been described as locks for much of the spring. That would leave the final spot down to Fiers and Peralta. With the bullpen almost entirely set, too, it’s possible the loser of that competition finds himself in Nashville to start the year.

For all the criticism, this is a move that likely makes the 2013 Brewers better. The question to ask, though, is whether going from 78-80 wins to 82-84 wins is really worth the money, longterm commitment, and loss of draft resources.

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Comments

Tell us what do you think.

  1. Jared Kennedy says: March 25, 2013

    I HATE (too strong, but was really rooting against it) this move… yes it makes the Brewers, maybe. The only thing we can hope is that lohse is productive the first two years and the brewers flip the last year of his contract for a decent prospect, something they failed to do with randy wolf last spring.

  2. Bob says: March 25, 2013

    Jeff Suppan, all over again.

    Mark just better be willing to eat the $11 million per year when this doesn’t work out.

  3. Cal says: March 25, 2013

    I totally agree with you Jaymes. Not only do we lose the 17th overall pick, but the Cardinals receive the 28th overall in return. Us helping our division rivals? And look at the pitching free agency next year! If we could have just tried it out, maybe sell a piece or two at the break, we could be stacked next year.

  4. Lucus says: March 25, 2013

    Don’t mind the signing because you know what you are going to get from a consistent pitcher the last few years, but dang I would have thought that his price would have at least dropped more than that for how long he was on the market.

  5. McAnderson says: March 25, 2013

    I wonder if there will be a no-trade-clause. If not, the best case scenario would be Lohse pitching well and then trading him after one year for a top 10 prospect closer to the bigs than a 1st rounder would be. It is just hard to see that happening. Teams don’t trade newly signed FA often and when they do (Marlins) they get blasted. Sad day

  6. Doug says: March 25, 2013

    I wonder if, more than anything else, signing Lohse is a sign that the Brewers didn’t think the young arms were ready to pitch in the National League. In your article above you wrote: “The question to ask, though, is whether going from 78-80 wins to 82-84 wins is really worth the money, long term commitment, and loss of draft resources.” I’m not sure that is the real question. Perhaps the real question is: “Did the poor performance of the young pitchers motivate Mark A. to sign Lohse?” So instead of asking will Lohse give the Brewers 2 – 4 more wins maybe a better question would be to ask would the current staff (minus Lohse) give the Brewers 4 – 8 or more loses?

    • Ross B says: March 25, 2013

      Remember, he means Win Above Replacement. It is entirely possible Lohse has 4-8 more net pitcher Wins than whomever he replaces, but it would be almost impossible for him to have that many more in terms of WAR.

  7. Vineet Barot says: March 25, 2013

    I think it’s a great deal in terms of raw numbers in terms of $/year. Brewers might make some of it back this year in attendance; no one wants to see a struggling pitching staff not supporting one of the best offenses in NL. This will keep the Brewers within striking distance of the second wildcard spot (the Braves will get the first one).

    However, they are unlikely to win any more than 85 games (even that is optimistic) this year. In the long term, they just gave up first round draft pick to their division rival. Cardinals have one of the best farm systems in the Majors and now have the 17th, 19th and 28th pick. The Brewers have one of the worst farm systems and their first pick is #54.

    Overall it seems like an emotional move rather than a rational one. We’ll see if it pays off.

  8. Ryan says: March 25, 2013

    Boras, I believe, has managed to hose the Brewers again. Panicked is the right term here. Although the spring numbers haven’t been astonishing (noones have), how is it that us as fans have the confidence that upper management fails to represent. The more confidence you show in your youth, the better they perform. Mark Rogers, Wily Peralta, and Mike Fiers feed off the energy us as Brewers fans maintain and it shows in infield performance, showed in a late season surge last year. 11 million a year for a 35 year old? And we pay him more if he performs to the standard he set for himself just last year? I’ve got a bitter taste in my mouth.

  9. Nicholas Zettel says: March 25, 2013

    The biggest issue is, which pitchers lose starts because of the signing? And, after that, can the Brewers produce an aggressive draft strategy while losing the first round slot money?

    I’m a bit skeptical of this deal if it takes starts away from Peralta, Estrada, and/or, Fiers. Those guys have earned their rotation spots through their 2012 and minor league performances.

    As for the draft, it’s inaccurate to suggest that the Brewers gave the Cardinals a pick; the Cardinals would have received the same supplemental pick had the Brewers or the Rangers or anyone else signed Lohse. No one gets the Brewers’ 17th pick; the rest of the draft pack jumps up a spot.

  10. Jeff says: March 25, 2013

    For me, the takeaway here is that Attanasio really wants to win, and he’s willing to spend for it. That’s the kind of Owner we’ve really been missing in Milwaukee all these years. So, rather than being too bummed out about possible futures, I say let’s look at the upside. The Brewers REALLY WANT TO BE WINNERS.

    Look at how different this is from the early 90s or 2000s, people!

    Lohse is a good pitcher and has put together a good resume over the past couple of years. You all know that. What’s more, he’s a tough competitor in the post-season. Raise your hand if you’d rather have had Lohse or Greinke/Marcum on the mound in those 2012 post-season games.

    They got him for a fairly reasonable price with control, and, assuming he pitches well, Melvin has shown he has the smarts to flip him for prospects – should things not work out.

    • Bob says: March 26, 2013

      I vote Grienke over Lohse.

  11. Dan V says: March 25, 2013

    Right when this broke I thought JP and Ryan are gonna be pissed. I can’t say I like the move but I get it. Seems like we’re in limbo, not rebuilding but not enough star power to be truly competitive. The brewers are now a better club and if Lohse puts up decent numbers this will help put fans in the seats but is our farm deep enough to not have a first round pick this year? Will this move get us in the playoffs? Plus, if Lohse struggles, which a lot of mid-thirty year old pitchers do, he won’t be able to be flipped for anything anyway.

  12. Bob says: March 25, 2013

    To all of you who are dumping on this deal… The crew went out and got THE BEST PITCHER AVAILABLE! Our young arms have had a terrible spring and something had to be done. If they would of stayed pat and in June we are done because the young arms just plain suck YOU and everyone else would be screaming (WHY DIDN’T WE GO OUT AND GET SOME PITCHING) This guy has been money the last two years and we need him!! Hopefully he is reliable for the next three years and we win the central because this teams window is about THREE years and that’s what they want out of him. I remember the Suckpan, Wolf, disasters and yes people are coming out of the woodwork to criticize this deal but will you and everyone else come out and give props in three years if this becomes a GREAT sign??? I hope so… And i hope to be watching the crew in the world series too!!!

    • Dan V says: March 25, 2013

      The only way for a team like the Brewers to acquire true stars is through the draft. More stars emerge from the first round then anywhere. I agree that the young arms didn’t inspire much confidence this spring and many would be screaming if we were out of contention in June but, with this staff we may be out of it in June anyway, is KL going to make the difference there?

    • Bob says: March 26, 2013

      If the “young arms just plain suck”, the Brewers are going to be a bad team regardless of how well Lohse pitches. Even if you slot him into the rotation after Gallardo, that still leaves 3/5 of the rotation to those “young arms”. And if 3/5 of the rotation “just plain suck[s]“….

  13. Tyler says: March 25, 2013

    I think the chance that our rotation completely falls apart and nobody goes to games the second half of the season was probably the motivation. There is a good chance that a Lohse-less rotation was going to be worst in the NL Central/league. If we’re battling the Cubs at the end of July, nobody’s making the trip. I think Lohse could be saving us money this year… and it’s not that I don’t love this young pitching squad, I absolutely do, but from the finance side, its a major liability.

  14. Tyler says: March 25, 2013

    ALSO, LETS TALK PLAYOFFS. I know its early but we would have made the playoffs last year with just a better bullpen alone. We have that now. We are obviously very serious contenders. Can you imagine this rotation in the playoffs without another arm like Lohse in there!?! I get this only gives us another 4 wins in the regular season, but this is HUGE come October.

  15. Marco Esquandolas says: March 26, 2013

    Admittedly, I pirated these from a poster on BrewCrewBall (thank you corsac, whoever you are) that did the necessary research – but it did a lot to calm my fears of losing the pick. I don’t think this is a great deal, but those of us that are comparing it to Suppan are way off-base. It’s a year less, for less money, for a better pitcher. Not a great pitcher, but one who’s chances of at least being an average starter are better than 3/5 of our rotation. I’ll take it, even though I have to choke it down.

    The numbers, for all who are interested:
    There have been 48 drafts since the draft began. Of the 48 players taken at #17:

    32, two thirds exactly, have made it to the majors (but perhaps we shouldn’t include the most recent three, who haven’t made the majors yet)

    10 of those players posted a negative WAR in their career (WAR numbers courtesy of b-ref).

    11 players had careers which were about as short, but less objectionable, posting career WARs from 0-5. (Ex-Brewer example: Don August, 1.2 WAR)

    That leaves only 11 players out of 48- well, let’s say 44, to be fair to the most recent guys, and so we get a nice even 25%- with more than 5 career WAR, and only 7 with more than 10. Those seven:

    Roy Halladay 62.3
    Cole Hamels 28.2
    Gary Matthews 27.3
    Charles Nagy 22.5
    Jeromy Burnitz 17.4
    Cal Eldred 14.3
    Brian McRae 12.3
    (David Murphy, at 9.3, will probably enter this list; so might Brad Lidge, 7.1)

    A 25% chance of winding up with a good player is actually better than I expected, but it’s something you wouldn’t usually hesitate to give up to improve your team right now

    • Bob says: March 26, 2013

      Looking at only pick #17 is somewhat short-sighted. It assumes there is only one possible player to pick at that point in the draft, regardless of team need or circumstance. It assumes that smart front offices who end up at that spot would pick the exact same player as poor front offices. And it ignores all the players who will end up drafted between #17 and when the Brewers pick again (in the mid 50s?) that no longer have the potential to be Brewers.

      I would, at a minimum, look at the players drafted between the Brewers first and second pick slots to compare who they could possibly have drafted.

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