Angels out on Lohse because they can't afford him?

Posted by Scott Wuerz on January 13, 2013 

The Angels told mlb.com that they're not interested in Cardinals free agent pitcher Kyle Lohse because their payroll is maxed out at about $160 million.

Anaheim showing financial restraint? That's difficult to imagine.

They're going to have a tough time staying at the $160 million level in the next few years even after the terrible contract they picked up for Vernon Wells expires after the 2014 season. Wells makes a little more than $24.6 million each of the next two years. But before the Halos can be glad to get rid of that deal, they'll start re-digging the financial hole because of back loaded contracts to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

Pujols made $16 million in his first year with Anaheim. That number balloons to $23 million in 2013 an then goes up a million bucks a season every year after that until 2021. Hamilton's five-year, $125-million contract pays $15 million the first two seasons. After that it goes to $23 million in 2015 and a staggering $30 million in 2016-17. 

In 2016, that's $55 million for two players in their mid thirties. I assume that the Angels will have to have some pitching and some other guys to fill out the batting order. One of those guys has probably watched rather intently as the club passed out mega contracts to two players with less skill than he has.

What will Anaheim have to pay Mike Trout to keep him as he gets into the arbitration ranks. Pujols got $100 million from the Cardinals in his third season nine years ago. Will the bidding for Trout start at twice that amount.

I really don't believe being budget conscious is what is preventing the Angels from signing Lohse. I believe they can afford to pay more than $160 million in payroll if they make $150 million a year in local television revenue while the Redbirds have a $115 million projected payroll and about $24 million in local TV money.

They apparently don't think Lohse is worth his asking price. And who could blame them. Thanks to idiots who bid against themselves and pass out 10-year contracts to players in their 30s, the cost of players is completely out of control. But they chose to go the "it's not you, it's me" route to leave us with the impression that they're not just spending like a bunch of drunken sailors, putting out the message through MLB's in house press agency.

 

 

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