FanPost

Lohse, the last kid "picked" for kickball

I was just reminded, through a MLBTraderRumors article, that Lohse went to arbitration with the Twins twice. He was the "last free agent standing" when he signed with the Cardinals, and is the "last free agent standing" again this year. When the Cardinals signed him to the extension many people thought it was a strange deal, and he was the oddball member of the "10 million club." Lohse's whole career seems to be characterized by a general feeling of ambivalence toward him.

I understand that, at any point along the way, folks' judgements can be justified by some narrative or some stat or another. But there are tons of pitchers, worse pitchers, that get treated with a lot more optimism. Lohse, at least superficially, seems to stand alone. Even if we say the collective treatment of him makes sense, what does not make sense is that he is the only one that is treated sensically.

My question is: What is it about Lohse that invites this collective pessimism vs. the usual feelings teams have for similar, and often worse, pitchers? Is it his laid-back-ness coupled with his smaller size and average velocity? if he had the demeanor of Carp would people think the same pitcher was different? Is it the soul patch? If he was foreign would teams think his cultural distance hinted at untapped mysterious talent? If he had a Motte beard would he be employed right now? Is there some sociological phenomenon in force whereby Lohse is this generation's average free agent scapegoat that allows teams to feel like they are being smart and responsible in spite of the foolishness of many of the other moves they make?

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