MILWAUKEE -- Kyle Lohse didn’t sign with the Milwaukee Brewers until March 25 -- at the very back end of spring training -- in part because many teams were weary of losing a first-round draft pick that would come with signing the right-hander. Up until that point, it was rumored that the Texas Rangers might be interested in Lohse, who will take the mound against the Rangers on Wednesday.
Just how close were the Rangers to signing the veteran righty?
“Not close,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “We maintained a dialogue. There were two things: One, that we wanted to see if there was a possibility if MLB would consider a sign-and-trade type deal to protect our draft pick, but he had a market where he didn’t need to do that. And then, he had offers above what we would have considered, so we never made a proposal."
Lance Berkman, a former teammate of Lohse’s in St. Louis, said he discussed the possibility of Lohse joining the Rangers with both Lohse and Daniels. Berkman said Lohse’s interest in signing with the team was "high" and that the front office definitely had an interest in him.
“He’s great,” Berkman said of Lohse. “Great competitor, hard worker; I mean he’s everything you look for in a teammate. He’s been awfully good the last several years.”
The attempt to do a sign-and-trade was something that never got very far along and isn’t technically even permitted under MLB rules.
“It had been speculated about in the media,” Daniels said. “And it had gotten that late in the offseason with the season right around the corner that we at least asked the question. Is this a case where it’s in everybody’s interest to consider it? But it was unnecessary because he had a market.”
Daniels said that if the players union and MLB had agreed to allow a sign-and-trade, it would have been an one-time deal special to this particular case and any team could have taken advantage of the sign-and-trade.
Daniels emphasized that losing a draft pick isn’t something that will prohibit the Rangers from signing a free agent. It just has to be the right guy, and apparently that wasn’t the case with Lohse.
“We’ve given up draft picks before, we gave one up for (Adrian) Beltre,” Daniels said. “It’s not the end all be all, in this particular case we were hoping to retain the draft pick. But rules are rules, and you can’t do that.”