Happy Friday, all. Welcome to the freakin' weekend.
Today we have the reappearance of Kyle Lohse rumors (remember him?!), the Rangers (sort of) nearing a final decision at shortstop, and the Tigers giving second thoughts to trading a young starter. Also, Matt Garza is out a while, Tommy John claims more victims, and a hilarious Royals rumor.
The Big Three
1. Raise your hand if you forgot Kyle Lohse was still out there. While I didn't totally forget about Lohse, I was definitely on the verge of putting him in my brain's long-term storage area -- where I store unneeded things like cursive writing, Pokemon characters, and long division. Scott Boras insists that there are a bunch of teams -- including the Rangers -- that are still interested in Lohse, but the closer we get to Opening Day the more I'm inclined to think Boras is full of it. We've definitely passed the point where Lohse can jump in and fully adjust to new digs/teammates/etc. in time for the regular season. Boras is apparently still seeking a three-year deal for the right-hander, which -- given time/leverage -- is almost as crazy as the Royals' demands for Luke Hochevar (see: below). Lohse's best chance now is for a team's ace to go down with a season-ending injury. Even then he'll probably get just one year guaranteed.
2. The Rangers have set a timeline of sorts for their long-term plans at shortstop. The team is expected to either trade or extend current shortstop Elvis Andrus in the next 10 to 12 months, the decision likely dependent on how Jurickson Profar develops this season. Profar is set to start the year at Triple-A -- and will likely stay there a while given Super-Two service time concerns -- but if he puts up crazy numbers again I think he may force Texas into a decision earlier than expected. The year timeline means the Rangers would probably look to trade Andrus next winter, well after the 2013 season, but I'm of the belief that Profar could force the club's hand at the July trade deadline. If that's the case, the Cardinals seem like a pretty good bet to be in on the dealings. If they opt to extend Andrus, on the other hand, then Profar will probably become trade bait.
3. Now that the Tigers' blown-out-of-proportion closer situation has calmed down, it appears that the club could move forward without trading anyone before Opening Day. It's been speculated for some time now that Rick Porcello or Drew Smyly could be on their way out of Detroit -- depending on which youngster locks up the No. 5 rotation slot -- but now it's looking like both players could stay put. I think it's a smart move on the Tigers' part to not do anything for the time being. Having a sixth starter on stand-by is always a plus, no matter how healthy you think your rotation is. There's really no downside to stashing one of the guys in the bullpen for a few months until you've determined you definitely don't need them.
In Other News...
1. It seems the Cubs won't get their first glimpse of Matt Garza until May. The right-hander started a throwing program on Thursday but he won't be game-ready for some time. So long as he can make it out to the mound before the All-Star break, he should get some attention on the trade market.
2. We've hit threat-level orange on Tommy John Watch this week. We're now at 2½ victims in the last three days: Indians reliever Frank Herrmann had his operation, A's right-hander Fernando Rodriguez will go under the knife soon, and Padres youngster Casey Kelly is looking likely to be the third.
3. I just really, really don't get the Royals
sometimes ever. The club is apparently asking "quite a bit" for terrible pitcher Luke Hochevar, who -- as you may know -- is terrible. Not quite Kyle Davies terrible, but still really bad. If someone offered me a chocolate donut for Hochevar at this point I'd probably take it. No idea what's going on in Dayton Moore's noggin. There must be some serious isolation and group-think going on in the Kansas City front office.