Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported early Monday that free-agent starting pitcher Kyle Lohse had signed with the Milwaukee Brewers pending a physical. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel added that Lohse agreed to a three-year, $33 million contract with the Brewers, that also includes up to another million in bonuses.
The deal will become official after Lohse takes his physical at Brewers camp. The 34-year-old has been keeping in shape this offseason and is expected to pass the examination this afternoon.
Lohse has spent the past five seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and posted the best numbers of his career in 2012. Lohse finished the 2012 season with a 16-3 record, accompanied by a career-best 2.86 earned run average. The Brewers will lose the 17th overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft in June and the Cardinals will receive the 28th pick after Lohse officially signs.
The deal for Lohse will finalize the Brewers rotation going into the season, as projected fifth starter Mark Rogers should fall out while everyone else moves back a spot. Lohse will compliment a pitching staff that is led by Yovani Gallardo, but most likely won’t be ready to play for the first few series of the season, though he has been pitching simulated games this spring.
Lohse finished seventh in the NL Cy Young race last season, and is a major upgrade for the inexperienced Brewers rotation. The Brewers will feature Lohse as their No. 2 starter behind Gallardo in their hopes of returning to the playoffs after falling five games short of a Wild Card spot in 2012.
Milwaukee opens the season at home for a three-game set with the Colorado Rockies starting April 1, but Lohse will have to be evaluated before a timetable can be set on his return. His experience should work wonders once he’s ready to play as the Brewers projected staff includes Wily Peralta and Mike Fiers, two talented young pitchers who spent time in the minor leagues in 2012.
Does signing Kyle Lohse make the Brewers a better contender in the NL Central as Opening Day approaches?