Kyle Lohse Would Make Cleveland Indians Favorites in AL Central

Aaron Siegal-Eisman@@ASiegalEismanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2013

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 17:  Kyle Lohse #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the San Francisco Giants in Game Three of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 17, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

With the start of spring training this weekend, several free agents still haven't signed with a team. One of the players who top the list of unsigned contributors is Kyle Lohse. Lohse is an excellent right-handed pitcher who has been on four different MLB teams throughout his 12-year professional career.

Lohse had one of his best seasons last year. In 2012, he went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA and 143 strikeouts. This was the second season he remained healthy and put up double-digit wins for the Cardinals. But the Cards decided they would not re-sign Lohse in the offseason, which has put him in the free-agent market.

The main problem with signing Lohse is that a team would have to give up a pick to make the addition. A team would have to give up their first-round selection in the upcoming draft, except for the Cardinals. This has made teams question whether or not they would sign a 34-year-old.

There is still a very good chance for Lohse to sign with a team before Opening Day. But certain teams haven't seen the need in adding Lohse to the rotation. According to an NBC Sports article, the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers are both not interested in signing the California native. Other teams that have shown interest over the last few months include the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres and Baltimore Orioles. But none of those teams have made a substantial offer yet.

Lohse's best spot would be to land on the Indians because he would add another solid pitcher to the bottom of their rotation. The Tribe are weak towards the end of their starting five. They are hoping that young pitchers like Trevor Bauer or Carlos Carrasco fit into that spot and become successful this season. Adding Lohse would bring a veteran pitcher with a lot of wins under his belt and would give them more time to develop.

Also, the Indians would not need to give up a first-round pick like the other teams interested. Their first-round pick is protected. Next, they've given up their second-round and competitive balance round picks for Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. This means that signing Lohse would make the Indians only lose their third-round pick and add a strong arm in return.

Pitching was one of the major problems for the Tribe last season. Adding Lohse would give the Indians a much better rotation this season. They would get consistency and more wins with Lohse in the starting five. Also, it would help them contend with the other teams in the AL Central Division because of the experience he brings to the table. The Indians need to add Lohse for a better shot at winning the division and making a possible run in the playoffs.