Matt Maloney traded for Kyle Lohse

per rotoworld, the Phillies have acquired Kyle Lohse for Matt Maloney. First reaction is, okay, I’m fine with it, but maybe I’m still underrating Maloney a bit. I gave Maloney a B in the prospect grades, saying this

Maloney, Matt, LHP (age 23) Grade = B

On paper, Maloney should be an A++. He put up a sparking 2.03 ERA in 168.2 IP in 2006, allowed only 120 hits and struck out 180 batters, en route to helping lead the Blueclaws to the SAL title. However, there are some problems, in my view. First, he was 22 the entire year, on the high end of the prospect spectrum. College pitchers should dominate at low A, and Maloney did. The second problem, which ties in with the third, is his walk rate. He walked 73 in the 168.2 IP, which is a lot of walks. This ties in with the third problem, his mediocre stuff. He has a deceptive delivery (but it looks max effort to me, which could be a problem), and he relies on his slow curveball to get outs. The problem is, at higher levels, batters are less likely to swing at breaking balls out of the zone. Most guys with fringe stuff are pinpoint control guys, like Kevin Slowey and Jeremy Sowers, and scouts even question their success at higher levels. For a guy with an 86-89 MPH fastball, even for a lefty, I think he’s going to need to really refine his control at the higher levels, or he’s going to hit a wall quickly. Because he clearly didn’t belong in the SAL, we’ll have to see how he does against better competition. I’m not writing him off, though my writeup seems harsh, but I want to see him dominate (or at least pitch well) at higher levels against more advanced hitters. If his control improves, so will his grade.

Ceiling: Because of the lack of a high quality fastball or above average stuff, his ceiling is probably as a 4th/5th starter.

Floor: Brian Mazone without the steroids?

Conclusion: Finesse pitchers are really tough to figure out and project. If his control improves, he’s got a much better shot to reach his ceiling. If it doesn’t improve, he looks more like a AAAA pitcher, or maybe a possible reliever down the road. His 2007 should land him in Reading, where he’ll be the proper age for his level, and will be facing much more advanced prospects. If he repeats his numbers from 2006, he’ll be a legit prospect, and the ceiling might even improve.

Basically, the problem I have with Maloney is that I don’t think he’s anything more than a 5th starter in the majors. None of his pitches are plus, he doesn’t have a lot of velocity, and that means he’s going to have to rely on his control/command to be effective. Prior to the last 6 weeks or so, his control/command hasn’t been good, and wasn’t particularly great last year. It’s one thing to trick 19 and 20 year old hitters in Low A, it’s another thing to fool major league veterans. Maloney is hittable, and that’s at AA, so he’d have certainly been hittable in the majors. This is the benefit of stockpiling arms in the system though, as he’s turned into a major league pitcher at a time when we desperately need pitching. If I were grading Maloney now, I’d probably either leave him at a B or drop him to a B-, but the difference isn’t overwhelming.

So that brings us to Lohse. I don’t have a ton of good things to say about him. None of his peripherals are great, but he is capable of delivering a gem every time out. The sad thing is, he’s also capable of delivering a complete clunker. Maybe the Phillies think Duuuuubee can work some magic with him, and catch lightning in a bottle for 2 months.

Because of Maloney’s limited upside, I don’t mind this deal. The time to win is now, so go for it. Maloney wasn’t an elite prospect, he might pitch well, but in Great American Ball Park, I’ll bet against it.

For everything I’ve ever written about Maloney, click here.

EDIT

Someone was kind enough to run the splits on Lohse. When pitching against NL teams this season, his numbers look like this

112.7 IP
6-6
3.59 ERA
1.23 WHIP
69 K; 5.52 K/9
24 BB; 1.92 BB/9
2.88 K/BB
11 HR; 0.88 HR/9

That looks pretty decent to me.

EDIT 2

Keith Law weighs in

The Phillies have now made two small but useful additions to their belated playoff push. Kyle Lohse is a capable fifth starter, a substantial improvement over J.D. Durbin and Adam Eaton, and an improvement over Kyle Kendrick once reality catches up with him. Lohse is a classic four-pitch mix guy who has never really had the put-away pitch that would elevate him out of fifth starterdom; his fastball is a bit too true and he’s prone to the longball, which won’t get any better for him with the move to Philly. The cost was minimal, reliever Matt Maloney, who projects as an 11th/12th man in the big leagues. Maloney is a lefty whose breaking ball isn’t good enough to make him a lefty-killer. Given Reds GM Wayne Krivsky‘s reliever fetish, offering Maloney was a good gambit for the Phils.

- ESPN.com

Sounds good.

27 thoughts on “Matt Maloney traded for Kyle Lohse

  1. Who’s he gonna push out of the rotation, Durbin? They both seem like hit or miss pitchers, and if Durbin does get pushed out of the rotation…the Phils have basically cancelled their own low gamble-high reward moves out.

  2. Durbin might have an option to AAA that would expire on the 31st, so he might get sent down for the short term. If he does not have that option I’m not sure I would risk getting him through waivers at this stage.

  3. hey its worth a shot

    don’t really mind losing maloney as he probably wasn’t going to amount to much

    I would have liked to have seen Durbin given some more time in the rotation, but with the way the phils season is going with everyone getting injured, he will probably get another shot.

  4. Is it me or can we not judge this trade until the season is over? I mean Lohse is too unpredictable and the grade of this trade truly depends on where we finish from here on out. People on the Phillies Message Boards are going a little too nuts. It wasn’t like there was much to get at all and if we do actually sign those 2 HS pitchers than I can’t see this hurting our farm.

  5. “Stuff” is overrated. The more important fact is that Maloney strikes people out. He was doing it at AA, and he wasn’t old for the league.

    He isn’t a top prospect, but Lohse wasn’t worth even a speculative commodity.

  6. I have a hard time believing there’s any possibility that Mesa will be dumped. Barajas could be, but more likely they’ll wait until Jayson Werth comes back for that move.

  7. I think Durbin is most likely to go (with the option) followed by Condrey. I think Charlie likes having 3 catchers around and will preserve that option. Durbin would be back by September 1 anyway.

  8. I would LOVE to see barajas dumped. I puke a little every time in my mouth I see him, and every time he swings, I puke more.

    I don’t think anyone would disagree that Coste is awesome to watch. I wouldnt mind seeing Mesa dumped either. I really wish they’d give Durbin a full shake. I just don’t see how this move helps us.

  9. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you said exactly the same thing about Myers and Gordon no more than a few weeks ago. Werth has started his rehab assignment. Anyway, the point is that Werth would be the third catcher if he comes back, and the Phillies don’t have one without him as far as I know.

  10. It was brought to my attention that a poster on PhilaPhans talked to Werth directly in Clearwater, and Werth mentioned that his wrist was still in a lot of pain and he didn’t think he’d be back before the end of the year. I don’t make this stuff up, I just pass along the info. The report I got on Gordon was that he was in too much pain when rehabbing and that it was “likely” he wasn’t coming back. Myers I was more optimistic on, but I said that he wasn’t going to start again.

  11. And here’s why “stuff” does matter. Kevin Slowey is the prototypical control/command artist. He blew through the minor leagues, walked around 1 per 9 innings, struck out about 9 per 9 even through AA/AAA. He got to the big leagues and got hammered, mainly because his secondary pitches are fringey. You can only get by with fastball command for so long. Maloney does not have overpowering stuff (Slowey didn’t either), but unlike Slowey, Maloney doesn’t have pinpoint command and control.

  12. Lohse for a midling prospect, I’ll take it. He’s definately an upgrade over Durbin. And Maloney won’t be missed. I do hope Durbin has options, so we can retain him. Would like to see him next Spring. Barajas then Mesa should go.

  13. Sorry, but what you said was “I don’t think you’ll see Myers or Gordon again this year.” No caveats about whether Myers would be in the rotation or the bullpen. This was on July 1.

    Anyway, like I said, the point of my reference to Werth was not that he’s definitely coming back but rather that the Phillies are unlikely to let go of their current third catcher unless and until they get another third catcher on their roster. This might not be what they ought to do, but I think it’s what they probably will do.

    As for Slowey, it’s a little too early to be using him as an example of inevitable failure after a grand total of seven major league appearances.

  14. I agree with Nick that the trade is judged after the season. If we make the playoffs and Lohse performs well enough to be a positive in getting us there, then the trade is a win, since first playoff appearance since 1993 is huge, even if we are eliminated in first round. And with Utley back for playoffs, who knows? If we don’t make playoffs or we do, but Lohse is a drag like Turk Wendell, rather than a plus, then this trade joins a long list of Phillies deadline duds. Too little, too late, compromising the future.

    I think a lot of folks underestimate Maloney. A lefty who throws a ton of inning, gets guys out, has good stats, is already in AA. I would have ranked him about 5 or 6 on our list of pitching prospects and expected he would help the big club sometime in 2008. This is a far bigger loss than Dubee.

    I am not at all sold on Lohse. He seems like a poor starter. We will see what a transplant into a pennant race does for him.

    Braves have done more, Mets seemed poised to do more. What are our post-season chances after this trade. I hold my finger in the wind and think improved from 10% to perhaps 11 or 12%. To me, Lohse does not even equal the plus that Madson was.

  15. Per usual, I appreciate the counter view. I was very skeptical of Gordon, and I was skeptical about Myers, and I’m glad I was wrong on both, though it does feel like Gordon is one curveball away from being toast. I also said that I thought they wouldn’t be back, obviously I was hoping they’d come back. I’m still worried about Myers. Again, the info on Werth wasn’t something I made up, it was second hand info, take it for what it’s worth.

    My point on Maloney wasn’t to say he was just like Slowey. My point was, guys without plus velocity or plus secondary pitches or plus command rarely do much of anything in the majors. He was our 4th best LHP prospect at best, maybe even 5th behind Bastardo at this point. It’s not a loss.

  16. Incidentally, Lohse is a free agent at season’s end, correct? So if he pitches great, or if guys like Myers, Carrasco, Durbin, Kendrick, Happ, or Outman don’t seem like legitimate possibilities for the rotation next spring then maybe we try to re-sign him. If not, we’re getting an at least currently hot pitcher with plus stuff for a couple of months shot at the playoffs and then a supplemental 1st rounder next summer (would this be the correct compensation?) in exchange for Maloney: originally a 3rd round draft pick, who has been pretty successful thus far in the minors, but with borderline stuff which, without an improvement in command or a gain in velocity, doesn’t necessarily translate very well into major league success.

    If that is the situation concerning Lohse’s FA status, this sounds to me like only the fourth move that I can think of (after the Thome and Moyer trades and taking a flier on Durbin) of Gillick’s tenure that I can comfortably say, I’m fully on board with.

  17. I’m not fully on board with this trade because I can’t feel secure that it makes us better. And this playoff talk, seems far too hopeful…the only shot at the playoffs is taking the division, and how realistic is that knowing this team from the past few years and how this year’s team has played the same kind of ball?

  18. I agree that this trade can not be judged until the end of the year but I believe that this may have been the best trade out there, “IF” we did not want to give up Rowand, Bourn, or one of our top tier prospects.

    I only saw Maloney pitch one game (end of his college) career) and I was not impressed. Everything that has been reported on this site by PhuturePhillies was evident that day: he did not appear to have real good “stuff”. You have to give it to him for how he has performed the last 2 years but I do not believe that he will ever develop into a + pitcher in the majors; in fact, when I heard that we acquired Lohse (knowing that we had to give something of value to get him), I was hoping that it was Maloney or less.

    I like the trade and just hope that Lohse gives us some strong starts. If he doesn’t, then this should only turn out to be a minor footnote in the Phillies history.

  19. Just on Keith Law’s comment, I have to note that it’s different, but nice, to be the team satisfying another GM’s reliever fetish rather than the roster being held hostage to ours…

  20. **Taco pal** Is it me or do the phillies have an injury bug? This is some nice insurance to have an extra starter. Ok we get your point Maloney was too much in your opinion to give up but we had to give up someone. Have you seen what Dotel and Gange and Rauch are going for? “Lohse wasn’t worth even a speculative commodity,”
    according to you. Then what was he worth? Simple question who would you have gone after and what would you have given up? Of course you can only pick guys who were actually traded, so what guys traded would you have wanted?

    And you suggest to dump Barajas. NO WAY that’s will happen. The phills would be on the hook for is entire contract and the’ll never just pay him! My guess is SOMEONE else will be injured by yhe time the roster needs adjustment and it will work itself out. But NOT barajas unfortunately.

  21. This was a salary dump: for a couple million dollars, we’re getting a 4th starter Cincy didn’t need for the rest of the season. We are basically trading Maloney for the compensatory pick.

  22. There is unlikely to be a compensatory pick. Doubt he is a Type B FA. Also doubt we would offer arb.

  23. So far (after one start for the “phightin’s”), Lohse isn’t looking too good, but he will pitch today at home. I personally think Maloney is a great player, but probably won’t pan out to more than a 4th or 5th starter. Lohse is a Cory Lidle-type guy, never spending much time with one organization. Maloney might end up being a middle reliever in the majors, so it might end up a good deal in the end.

  24. In case you were wondering…Matt Maloney got a non-roster invite to Reds camp. So far in 3 appearances (1 start) he has compiled the following stats:

    0-1, 24.75 ERA, 4 IP, 9H, 11ER, 3HR, 5BB, 0K

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