Per everyone, and Mike, who wrote the initial story for NW’, Martin Perez has a broken ulna in his throwing arm. He is expected to miss about a month before he’ll even be able to start throwing, so you have to figure he will begin the season at AAA Round Rock, leaving Justin Grimm and Robbie Ross as the front runners for the fifth and final spot in the rotation.
Logically, the initial reaction to the Perez injury was “Does this mean the Rangers will be more inclined to make a legitimate offer to Kyle Lohse?”
The answer is mildly layered, but all directions tend to point to “No.”
The first issue with signing Kyle Lohse is the forfeiture of a first-round draft pick in June’s amateur draft. Now, if you ask me, I don’t find losing a draft pick to be as significant this year as a lot of people do, but only because we have two of them (the 2nd being from the Angels as compensation for signing Josh Hamilton). The Rangers, on the other hand, have seemed steadfast and committed to continue their plan of building the organization through the draft and through trades — which are each more efficient fiscal routes than free agency. To that end, they will most likely decide to pocket that 2nd pick.
The second issue — the trumping issue — is the years and dollars Lohse is set to make. Sure, if you are of the opinion that two years and $18 million would be pretty cheap and worth it, I might be on the same boat as you. He would be a cheap short-term fix who could easily be traded whenever he is no longer of any consequence. Under this scenario, however, I cannot get behind the idea that the Rangers would sacrifice a first round pick for someone they only need until Colby Lewis comes back from injury (which is supposed to be in May).
If you are of the opinion that it would be worth it to sign Kyle Lohse right now, here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:
- How much better than Derek Holland or Alexi Ogando do you expect Kyle Lohse to be? Because if you sign Lohse and put Colby Lewis back in the rotation once he’s healthy, one of those guys would need to get bumped to the bullpen.
- Are you more on board with signing Lohse because you are high on him, or because you aren’t confident in the troika of Ross/Grimm/Wells (Randy) doing an amicable job maintaining the 5th spot?
- How much would you pay for Kyle Lohse? He supposedly went into the offseason expecting four years and $40 million, but that’s not happening. One can rationalize that the market dropped him to a place where he’d want less years (two, let’s say) and more money average annual value ($12 million, let’s say). Under those parameters, would you pay 2/24 for him?
Martin Perez going down isn’t exactly devastating news for the Rangers, because, again, we have the blanket of Colby Lewis to comfortably fall back on. As long as the 5th starter — who right now is presumably Justin Grimm — does a decent job, then we’ll be fine. We can’t afford the for the 5th starter to be an automatic loss for months on end, but with the potential of Colby Lewis coming back at some point in May (hopefully), we’re only asking for a month-plus of league average production.
Darvish, Harrison, Holland and Ogando can handle it the other four days.
For Perez as an individual, it’s a shame that he took a fluke line drive off his throwing arm. Although rare, these are the random incidents that can sometimes cost pitchers an entire year. Let’s hope Perez makes it back on schedule. In general, I always hate when players succumb to injuries, but for a guy like Perez — who appeared poised to start in a big league rotation on Opening Day, for the first time — it’s especially disappointing. We’ve heard great things since he was 17; we’ve read line-by-line from scouting reports on repeat the comparisons to Johan Santana; we just wanted to see something out of him.
From here, the Rangers meet one of the challenges they expected to experience: someone is going to have to step up. After all, this current run of Rangers’ success was not built on the arm of just one or two pitchers, or relied upon by only a couple bats in the middle of the lineup; it’s an entire system, model, paradigm — or whatever you want to call it — cultivated from within the very depths of the Rangers farm system all the way up to the end product in Arlington.
So while today is a loss for Martin Perez, the Rangers, and its fan base, we can be thankful it wasn’t an injury in his shoulder or elbow. He still has the same amount of service time as before, is still his same ripe age of only 22, and still seems like a pretty good bet to contribute valuable innings on the big league club in 2013.