Mention Michael Lorenzen anywhere in Philadelphia, and the first thought likely to come to mind is his sensational no-hitter with the Phillies last August. In just his second start with the ballclub it represented his first career no-hitter, while doubling as the 14th in Phillies franchise history.
Unfortunately for Lorenzen and the Phillies, his form then took a downward turn and he was never quite able to get back on track. Even moving him to the bullpen didn't help much, as he compiled a 5.51 ERA, 5.81 FIP and 1.458 WHIP in 11 overall appearances, including seven starts. (He did at least allow no runs in 2 2/3 combined innings during the postseason.)
As a result, the 32-year-old became a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season. This is the third consecutive offseason he has gone down this route, which can't help but elicit some uncertainty for the pitcher.
Lorenzen receiving interest around the league
If nothing else, at least Lorenzen can draw some comfort in being a player of interest around the Majors. As reported by Jon Morosi of the MLB Network, the Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres and Baltimore Orioles are apparently all interested in acquiring his services. This is after he threw a bullpen showcase for teams last week.
Despite the Anaheim, California native's underwhelming overall tenure in Philadelphia, he's still capable of being a useful and reasonably priced asset for a team. It helps that he can also offer the ability to either be a starter or come out of the bullpen.
Lorenzen is solid, if unspectacular, with a career 4.11 ERA, 4.32 FIP and 1.325 WHIP in nine years of MLB action. His main weapon is an excellent fastball, although at times he has struggled to deploy it consistently.
This was particularly noticeable when the righty produced just a 13.6 percent strikeout rate in Philadelphia, which was the lowest of his Major League career. Overall, though, he has a career 19.6 percent strikeout rate, to go along with a 9.4 percent walk rate.
All-Star form in Detroit
The reason the Phillies traded for Lorenzen in the first place, was due to his strong form with an average Detroit Tigers ballclub during the first half of last season. He produced a 3.58 ERA, 3.86 FIP and 1.098 WHIP in 18 starts, resulting in the first All-Star selection of his career.
There is a compelling theory as to why the 2010 seventh-round draft pick faded away toward the end of last season. More specifically, that it was due to a combination of his initial workload in Philadelphia — it took him a career-high 124 pitches to get through his no-hitter — and a subsequent minor injury.
Regardless of the reason, at least Lorenzen has been able to use the offseason to rest and reset. It will be interesting to see where he ends up, but we're sure Phillies fans will wish him all the best, fuelled by the memory of his stunning no-hitter in his home debut for their beloved team.