Monday, February 14, 2005


Baby, Even the Lohse-ers

I guess sometimes miracles do happen, but they aren't necessarily all miracles in the fun, 1980 U.S. Hockey team sense. Sometimes it's not Rudy, the lovable underdog whom the crowd cheers for and the news reporters fawn over, who leads his team to victory against unimaginable odds, but it's the fat, creepy loner who never showers who gets his day in the sun. There is simply no joy as the other players struggle to lift him above their heads, straining under his enormous girth, as the cheerleaders recoil in disgust at the foul stench emanating from his moldy AC/DC undershirt. Miracles aren't necessarily happy, mind you.

That's the sad realization I came to when I read that Twins pitcher Kyle Lohse had won his arbitration case and is now set to receive a not-so-thrifty 2.4 million this year from the Twins, a raise of a whopping $2 million for a guy who richly didn't deserve any of it. Miraculous? I don't know how you can look at this guy's numbers and tell me it isn't. Lohse put up an ERA of 5.34 last season, aided by an unsightly 1.63 WHIP. This is 194 innings of log burning, here, folks, so the fact that Lohse gets what amounts to a reward for this devastation is strictly Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego territory.

Now, before I go on, I have to admit to being a closet Twins fan, which is why I tend to write a bunch of crap about them here, despite the fact that this is allegedly a Giants blog. It enrages me when bad players get big money on any MLB team, but when it happens on the Giants (Matheny) or Twins it nearly makes me turn green and go rampaging around town in a pair of ill-fitting purple shorts, throwing lampposts and swinging tanks above my head like a pair of bolos. This Lohse thing is crazy, and just goes a long way toward demonstrating the insanity inherent in all arbitration battles.

Since I work at the free-will squenching beast known as Wal-Mart, allow me to break out an appropriate analogy. Lohse getting this kind of a pay raise is the equivalent of me receiving a raise for punching handicapped customers in the face or tossing some poor kid's new pet goldfish into a vat of photo processing chemicals. The arbitrators must have determined that Lohse should get paid based either on the fact that he was a four-year major league vet or that he's rather durable (in the last 3 years he's started at least 31 games and has averaged 192 innings pitched), and durability is at a premium these days. It sure as hell wasn't based on performance. Lohse was pretty good in 2002, mediocre in 2003, and downright Gigli/Ishtar/Lara Croft: Tomb Raider rolled into a giant, horribly pungent ball bad in 2004. Normally, a young guy with good stuff like Lohse gets better as he gets older, but his performance record is looking pretty scary right now. Maybe this isn't jaw-dropping, apocalypse-is-nigh stuff, but it sure rankles my feathers.

BTW, as an addendum to my post last week on Johan Santana, the AP reported that Santana and the Twins agreed to a 4 year/10 million contract, which, if true, is an almost criminal bargain for Minnesota. I've already stated how I feel that Santana will dominate for years and years, so the fact that he's getting paid less than guys like Pedro or Roger Clemens while being considerably younger makes this deal incredibly sweet, especially after the insane Kris Benson deal set the bar for overpaying mediocre pitchers this offseason. Someone in the Santana camp must have done a full-scale Neville Chamberlain, because Johan is worth a lot more than this in the baseball market.

How on Earth can you lump Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in with Gigli and Ishtar? Good God man, are you high?

Oh and yeah, the Loshe thing is nuts. Nuts, nuts, nuts. It's almost as evil as the Matheny signing. In fact, I'm thinking that this is the Twins penalty for stealing Nathan away from us for that no-good crotch-kicker. Take that, Twins!
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