Kyle Lohse finally found a team. After waiting almost to the brink of opening day, Lohse signed with the Milwaukee Brewers for 3 years/$33 million. A bit less than what he and agent Scott Boras were hoping for, but at least they got a deal done.
However, when I first heard about the signing, I immediately thought back to the Brewers signing of Jeff Suppan. In case you forgot about him, Suppan signed with the Brewers for 4 years/$42 million back in 2006 and is generally considered one of the Brewers' worst signings.
The similarities between Lohse and Suppan are eery. Both of them resurrected their careers while pitching for the Cardinals and pitching coach Dave Duncan. Lohse, who owns a career 4.45 ERA, posted a 3.90 ERA in 5 years with the Cards, while Suppan, who finished his career with a 4.70 ERA, had a 3.94 ERA in 4 years with the Cards.
In addition, they both had their career year with the Cardinals. Suppan's best year came in 2005, when he went 16-10 with a 3.57 ERA (114 ERA+). While Lohse's best year, to date, was last year when he went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA (134 ERA+).
The good news for the Brewers is that Lohse has better overall peripherals than Suppan. For his career, Lohse has given up 9.7 H/9 and 2.6 BB/9 for a career Whip of 1.369. Suppan had a career 10.1 H/9 and 3.1 BB/9 for a Whip of 1.461.
In addition, Lohse has posted a career 5.6 K/9 compared to Suppan's 4.9 K/9. However, strikeouts aren't their thing, as they are both sinkerballers, thus Suppan's career 1.31 GO/AO edges out Lohse's 0.99 ratio and offsets Lohse's higher K rate.
One other area of concern for the Brewers is that Lohse is currently 34 years old, whereas the Brewers sign Suppan just before he turned 32. Can Lohse continue to pitch well for 3 more years?
If I were a Brewers fan, I would definitely be nervous about the Lohse signing. Maybe it won't turn out as bad as the Suppan signing, but the warning signs are definitely there.