Should Mets Pursue Kyle Lohse?

The Mets recent ill-fated pursuit of Michael Bourn, and the controversy surrounding the compensation issue, got me thinking: If MLB does eventually come around on the issue, should the Mets pursue Kyle Lohse?

Like Bourn, Lohse remains unsigned despite an excellent 2012, mostly because teams are wary of surrendering a first-round pick for declining talent. Lohse is in an even more precarious situation than Bourn was several weeks ago, given the fact he is clearly not the same-caliber player as Bourn. As a result, seemingly not one suitor has emerged for him.

The Mets rotation is currently set at the moment, but that’s why we have trades. But who to trade? Shaun Marcum just signed, so he can’t be traded. Johan Santana has little to no trade value at the moment. And Matt Harvey isn’t going anywhere.

So that leaves with us Jon Niese and Dillon Gee. Sure, it goes without saying that both Niese and Gee are very valuable to the Mets, and neither exactly makes for an obvious trade candidate. Niese is a 26 year-old left-hander signed to an extremely team-friendly deal, who is coming off the best season of his career. He is also the only pitcher in the Mets current rotation who pitched a full major league season in 2012.  Gee, meanwhile, is under control for four more seasons. Based upon his vastly improved strikeout and walk rate before going down with a blood clot in 2012, Gee might be in for a breakout season of his own in 2013.

Lest I remind you, however, the Mets are also prepared to enter 2013 with the worst starting outfield in all of baseball. Yes, having already dealt R.A. Dickey, dealing either Niese or Gee on top of him would certainly raise plenty of additional questions regarding the team’s rotation. But even in that case, it’s hard to argue that the state of the team’s starting pitching — both now and in the future — would be worse that of the outfield. You’d still have Harvey. You’d still have Zack Wheeler. You’d have Lohse, Marcum, and Santana for this season. Even in the lower minors, the team’s pitching talent (Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Fulmer, etc.) far exceeds the organization’s outfield prospects.

The Mets current outfield, on the other hand, has essentially no proven big leaguers. Zero. It’s essentially the equivalent of a starting rotation headlined by Collin McHugh, Jeremy Hefner, and Jenrry Mejia. You can’t compare the two.

Now, believe you me, I can go on and on about to what degree Lohse is due for regression next season, whether Jon Niese had a career year in 2012 himself, etc. but that is beyond the scope of this article. The point is that Lohse potentially represents an opportunity for the Mets to pounce on what will almost certainly amount to a below-market deal. In turn, they can than acquire an outfielder (or two) that they desperately need by dealing from an area of relative strength.

And as we know, rest assured, plenty of teams can still use young starting pitching. Put either Niese or Gee on the open market, and you open up a litany of trade possibilities. Perhaps the Rangers are willing to re-discuss dealing Mike Olt.  The Diamondbacks were still rumored to be interested in Rick Porcello a couple weeks ago; they could offer Gerardo Parra. The Indians may entertain dealing Michael Brantley now that they have Michael Bourn.

Of course, provided MLB continues to drag its heels regarding the compensation issue, this is all pure mental masturbation. But at least I can think about the Mets having a good outfielder next season.

What’s your thought? If their first-round pick can be protected, should the Mets pursue Lohse? Would you trade one of the Mets’ starting pitchers for an outfielder? Sound off in the comments.

Matt is a high school student in New Jersey and avid Mets fan. He occasionally updates his blog at:
  1. since68 February 15, 2013 at 8:41 am
    Gee for Brantley is a no brainer, but I doubt Cleveland would do it. if they did, why pay lohse, just get Young, or use mejia, etc.

    there is a big hole in my preseason without Mikes Mets. When is Steffanos gonna post again?

  2. Craig Roth February 15, 2013 at 8:43 am
    Lohse is a better pitcher right now than Gee! Lohse is a proven starter and Gee has yet to do that and coming off
    his injury last year who knows what you will get? I would
    sign Lohse and trade Gee! If he’s healthy and pitches well
    for the first week or two of spring training you should be
    able to trade him and get something good back! Lohse
    should win between 12 and 16 games! How ever I would
    not trade Niese no way no how! He’s on the verge of
    wining 15-20 games a year and he’s the only other
    lefty on our starting staff and after this year he may be
    our only lefty and I don’t see to many good left handed
    starting pitching prospects in our minor’s who are
    ready to come up and fill the void left if he’s traded
    • randy February 16, 2013 at 12:09 am
      I love Niece, but I would trade him and something more for Stanton. Right now.
      Gee is a pipe dream, off the injury ya get nothing good until he goes at least 100 innings, not 2 weeks in spring.
      Agreed ?
  3. Dan B February 15, 2013 at 8:44 am
    Should they? Well Moneyball was all about finding under valued players. Will they? See Bourne, Michael. They wouldn’t sign an under valued player who fits their needs! The Mets are in cost cutting mode, not team building mode.!
  4. DaveSchneck February 15, 2013 at 9:50 am
    Never say never, but I am hard pressed to find a scenario that it would make sense. If they could sign him and keep the #11 pick, and if they had a trade lined up for either a power RH OF bat or CF/leadoff hitter, and if they could get Lohse on and affordable contract in terms of years of commitment, then it would make sense. however, it seems the draft pick issue is a loser, there is low likelihood of anyone dealing a power RH bat or CF/leadoff hitter is remote, and Boras had Lohse turn down 1 yr $13+mil, so I don’t wee him signing, even now, at a rate the Mets would go for…someone will pay him more.

    Dan. B. makes an excellent point about finding undervalued players. Right now there are closers out there that should be very undervalued. I like Parnell, but giving him the ball for the 9th is still a very shaky propositioin- he hasn’t shown he can master the 8th for an entire season. Why not take a bargain or even 2 from Valverde, Wilson , and KRod, and build a pen with little commitment that can come close to what the Braves and Nats have? I can’t see any better way to offset the OF uncertainty in a doable and reasonable manner that does not sacrifice the future.

  5. Dan B February 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm
    Oh so true, Dave. Those closers may seem undervalued now but in July even the mediocre ones (isn’t that KRod’s middle name? seem to bring back mid level prospects. Besides, someone has to pitch in the ninth inning.
  6. Joe February 15, 2013 at 3:24 pm
    Whatever we believe, the talk is that that extra year option was a problem for the Bourne signing. Lohse is not I assume a 4+ year deal sort of thing.

    The hope is, I assume, that you get Lohse, and this provides room to trade Gee or Niese for someone good. I wouldn’t give up Niese, someone you have cheap for years and is promsing mid-rotation starter, but if someone is willing to give someone big for Gee? Think about it. You know, like a real OF. But, I don’t think anyone did, really.

    As to the current OF. You have various options who have MLB experience. There isn’t just a bunch of McHughs though Hefner is somewhat closer, since he has a few more successful starts under his belt. My problem would be you need at least ONE steady good OF type, preferably CF. Then, you can do with the Baxters, Byrds and like too esp. short term. I wouldn’t exaggerate the situation though.

    • randy February 16, 2013 at 12:14 am
      I agree with most of what you say, except. I dare you to find a team that will give us more then a mediocre of for GEE, right now, off an injury.
  7. randy February 16, 2013 at 12:19 am
    Can you imagine, Wright, Davis, and this young man in the middle of our order………….;_ylt=AskzkTTOeRlTBwutvFryDHSFCLcF

    Turn this club around right now.

  8. Mic February 16, 2013 at 9:49 am
    This is a nice dialogue to have and a sensible one. Niese is the best trade chip the mets have not named wheeler or TDA. It’s not a bad time to trade him either.
  9. Dan B February 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm
    The benefit of being a large market team is that having a player signed to a club friendly contract is of less value then it would be to small market teams. That is why Dickey was so valuable to Toronto–he is one of the few true aces with a contract they could afford. In better times, the Mets could trade Niese for a couple prospects and then sign a higher paid but similiar quality pitcher. Oh well…
  10. Jesse Owen February 24, 2013 at 3:47 am
    If Mlb considers protecting the #11 pick for the Met’s, considering how the pirates bumped them down by being unable to sign Mark Appel, then of course Lohse could give the Mets a comparable replacement for Dickie.
    By season end if Santana is 100% with Harvey, Wheler, Lohse, Snygarden set to be the 2014 rotation maybe Santana stays a Met. Considering the Mets turned down Niese for Myers with K.C. Niese for Stanton is better, I would even include Murphy and let Wilber Flores grow into the second baseman of the future.
    The mets should get a deal done with Grady Sizemore. Maybe far away this year, but in 2014 if he returned to form all of a sudden two thirds of the outfield has gone from biggest weakness to biggest strength. Then Duda gets enough chances to put his batting practise swing into the real games.