Back from Japan, Loe signs with Brewers
Add former Rangers right-hander Kameron Loe to the list of pitchers hoping to win a big-league job with the Brewers in Spring Training.
Loe’s agent, Page Odle, confirmed that the big right-hander had agreed to terms with the Brewers on a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to big league camp, where he expects to compete as a starter. The 28-year-old who stands 6-foot-8 pitched in 147 Major League games for the Rangers from 2004-2008 but spent the 2009 season in Japan.
“It gave me an opportunity to secure my family, and I couldn’t give that up,” Loe said. “Now, I’m very excited to be back. It’s always been my dream to be a Major League player, and Japan was cool, but I never grew up wanting to be a Japanese Major Leaguer.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was first to report Friday that Loe had reached a deal with Milwaukee. The Pirates were among the other teams interested in Loe, according to the newspaper, and Odle said that at least seven clubs were “heavily involved.”
Loe will earn $650,000 if he makes Milwaukee’s Major League roster and can make another $200,000 in incentives. The deal includes a June 1 “out” that allows Loe to opt for free agency if he isn’t in the Majors.
He drew upwards of $1.1 million from the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks last season but made only six starts before he was demoted to the Japanese minor leagues.
“It was fun and frustrating and a whole lot of other things all rolled into one,” Loe said. “But I’m really glad I did it. It was a chance to see another country and continue playing baseball. It’s something I’d consider again later in my career, but right now I want to see what I can do in the Major Leagues.”
Loe was 19-23 with a 4.77 ERA in 47 starts and 60 relief appearances for the Rangers. He served in every capacity from starter to middle reliever to late-inning mop-up man and pitched most extensively in 2007, when he was 6-11 with a 5.36 ERA in 23 starts and five relief appearances for Texas.
He most recently was pitching in the Mexican Winter League, where Loe capped a six-game stint with a win for Aguilas over Mochis on Tuesday. Loe had a 3.20 ERA in five starts and one relief stint with a sinking fastball that reached the 87-92 mph range. He hopes to work up to 93-94 mph when he resumes a regular throwing program ahead of Spring Training, and also features a slider, a curveball and a change-up.
Loe has returned to the U.S. and will be married on Jan. 9, about a month before reporting to Spring Training camp to compete as a starter. The Brewers have already signed former Major League starters Chris Capuano and John Halama to Minor League contracts with big league camp invites. The team also inked one of Loe’s former Rangers teammates, left-hander A.J. Murray, to a similar deal, but Murray pitched exclusively as a reliever last season.
The Brewers were the first team to make an offer this winter, Loe said, and he likes the fit.
“They’re one of the teams I’ve really enjoyed watching over the past few years,” Loe said. “And it looks like a good opportunity for me, whether that’s starting or in the bullpen. Milwaukee came after me right away, and it seems like they have an opportunity to have a big future.”
During his Rangers days, Loe’s pet boa constrictor, a female named Angel, was just as popular in Arlington as her famous handler. A group of pet-friendly fans dubbed themselves the “Snake Pit,” and a few members of that group agreed to “snake-sit” Angel when Loe left for Japan. The family has since adopted Angel permanently, so she won’t be visiting Miller Park.
“It’s just too hard to travel around with a 35-pound, seven-foot snake,” Loe said. “I’m lucky that she ended up with some great people.”
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