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MLB Free Agency: Why Kyle Lohse Would Be a Perfect Fit for the Nationals

Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse fires a pitch against the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of the NLCS. Lohse is the biggest name left on the free-agent market.
Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse fires a pitch against the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of the NLCS. Lohse is the biggest name left on the free-agent market.Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Tyler PosloskyContributor IIIFebruary 12, 2013

With Michael Bourn signing with Cleveland, starting pitcher Kyle Lohse is now the biggest name on the free-agent market.

St. Louis almost certainly won’t re-sign Lohse, who turned down the club's $13.3 million qualifying offer this offseason. Lohse is seeking to cash in on a mega deal that the Cardinals couldn't afford to give.

Lohse has been linked to the Washington Nationals, a perfect fit for the 34-year-old right-hander. 

The Nationals already invested a one-year, $13 million contract with veteran hurler Dan Haren and could pursue Lohse’s services, especially with the news of Gio Gonzalez possibly serving a hefty suspension for his reported involvement to the Biogenesis Clinic in Miami. 

With Gonzalez waiting it out, the probability of Washington reaching out to Lohse is high, and the move makes perfect sense.

The Nationals are in need of another reliable arm in their rotation that already features Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Ross Detwiler and Haren.

Lohse is coming off a season that saw him rack up a record of 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 33 starts for the Cardinals. He also had the sixth-best WHIP in baseball, at 1.09.

According to The Washington Post, another key to this potential pairing is Lohse’s agent, Scott Boras, with whom the Nationals have a solid relationship.

What’s forced teams to turn away from Lohse is the compensation the Cardinals would receive.

Due to the rules in the new draft-pick compensation agreement, the Cardinals would receive a compensatory draft pick if another team were to sign him.

Lohse symbolizes the skill set of a sturdy pitcher, relying on his sinking fastball for ultimate command and precise placement of his pitches. Lohse averaged 14.82 pitches per inning last season with the Cardinals, eighth-best in all of baseball. Additionally, over 40 percent of Lohse’s pitches in 2012 were ground balls, compared to 35.6 percent of his pitches being hit in the air.

Sure, Lohse would be a costly addition for Washington, especially with Bourn off the market, but the Nationals need effective starting pitching.

Lohse could certainly fill a potential void left by Gonzalez if he has to serve a suspension and could rack up a decent amount of wins in the process. 

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