Scott Boras never shies away from the opportunity to promote the players he represents and he was busy selling pitchers Kyle Lohse and Jose Valverde in a recent chat with MLB.com's Mark Sheldon as his colleague Adam Berry reports.
Boras says calls concerning starter Kyle Lohse are increasing as teams start looking over their rosters-
"Like most free agents with that kind of ability, I think you get all kinds of calls. Frankly the calls increase during Spring Training rather than decrease because the need level of each club is more evident"
The 34 year old ex-Cardinal pitched 211 innings last season with a 2.86 ERA. That was the eighth best mark in baseball and it earned him a seventh place finish in the National League Cy Young voting, but it has not been enough to help him land a new deal this off-season. After rejecting the Cardinals qualifying offer, Lohse now carries the cost of a lost draft pick for any team beside St. Louis that signs him and that has hurt his stock significantly.
While the compensation issue is hurting Lohse, fellow Boras client Jose Valverde is trying to overcome a weak 2012 season and a disastrous performance in the playoffs. In 2011, the Tigers closer was a perfect 49-for-49 in save opportunities with a 2.24 ERA in 72 innings, but he was very different pitcher last year. He was 35-for-40 in save opportunities and his ERA shot up to 3.78 in his 69 innings of work. He was dreadful in the playoffs, blowing a two run lead in his second appearance and allowing four runs in his third. After that, he was pushed out of the closer's role and benched for the remainder of the ALCS. He was given just one appearance in the World Series, allowing two more runs in the seventh inning of the first game against the Giants.
Boras attributed Valverde's struggles to his heavy workload over the last two years-
"You go back and look at closer history and why a guy got a little fatigued the last month of a season, you don't find many closers that had back-to-back 70 appearance seasons... When they do, even Mariano Rivera, when he had a 70-appearance season, he went into the postseason in 2004 and blew three saves."
The super-agent remained optimistic about Valverde's chances for a long term deal, but he did seem to acknowledge the lack of options for the veteran, noting that "the thing about closers is there is only one on every team."