A lot of the writers here at Chicken Friars have been optimistically waiting for that big free agent signing to take us over the hump. But, we are biased, and we get excited and we want the big news to hit. Pragmatically, there are many factors that go into a signing, and being saddled with a bad contract can cripple a team for years. But the question I have, outside of the stats and the numbers, is really phrased at the human level. Baseball after all, is a game, one that is supposed to be fun and filled with laughter. Can the Padres with new owners, truly afford to do nothing at all?
As a half season ticket holder, and having a fan sided experience of the games, the culture of San Diego, and the culture of the Padres unfortunately do not lend to a rabid fan base. We’re not Pittsburgh, where there is a family heritage of season ticket holders. We’re “America’s Finest City” that lends to sprawling suburbia, endless coastal beaches of all economic strata, and sprawling canyon sides. We are a city that has never had a major sports team win, and thus we are sadly, a sports fan base of losers and complainers and will jump off the fair-weather bandwagon at the first sign of trouble. The Padres can’t even settle the squabbling feud with Time Warner cable to carry the team on TV…why? Because frankly the pie is not big enough to cut and share, not in declining media space and advertising CPM rates. Going to games, the stadium gets full when an exciting visiting team comes to play, or it gets rowdy with the Dodgers. Giants is a good rivalry, I’ll give you that, but the fan experience is just not that great right now. San Diegans just get too easily distracted by other things than the Padres and their average ways.
So can the new owners make their Zero Dark Thirty moment, and take a risk on a player without knowing how its going to turn out for sure? Sadly, for all decision makers, it is the outcomes that determine the wisdom of a choice, and it is inherently unfair sometimes to make a smart decision but have a bad outcome. See Drew Brees. But what about Kyle Lohse? Can we take a flyer on him? He’s still out there.
So what are the facts? He’s old, or 34. He has Scott Boras as his agent, so the negotiation will be tough. He had a gaudy career year in 2012, but fairly pedestrian career averages. But his 2012 was just gaudy, and he was hotter than a supermodel at a superbowl sunday gala. Check out numbers to the tune of 211 IP, 16-3 W-L, 143 K, 1.09 WHIP, 2.86 ERA, .239 OBAA. From our Fan Sided WAR calculator, that comes out to a 5.9 WAR, or to the tune of $26.4M in value.
He has only one offer so far, from St Louis that has been rejected as 13.3 million qualifying offer, which means it would cost the Padres a compensatory draft pick to sign him, but you know what, we got plenty of those. And it can bring down the price, its a chip on the FA bargaining table. Lohse seems to have that bitter “stick it to them” chip on his shoulder vibe. Read the St Louis article and check out his quotes for context, he’s definitely hurt that he’s not getting the attention or respect he believes he deserves. I say we offer him 1 year at $15M. He might just bite at a chance to pitch in the best Pitcher’s Park to show the world that he can string 2 good years together and get that ginormous multi-year one. Ginormous.