Kyle Lohse’s strong season is part of the reason the Cardinals are on track to return to the playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons. Lohse, who starts against the Astros tonight, has a 2.81 ERA with 5.8 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 and a 40.2% ground ball rate in 192 innings over the course of 30 starts this year. The 33-year-old right-hander has an eye-catching 14-3 record with an average fastball velocity of 89.4 mph and a swinging strike rate of 7.1%.
Despite his production, he’s not expected to return to St. Louis when he hits free agency this offseason, as the Cardinals already have an assortment of options for their 2013 rotation. Instead, the Scott Boras client figures to seek another multiyear deal in free agency when his four-year, $41MM contract expires after the season.
The Cardinals could make him a qualifying offer, even if they don’t expect him to return in 2013. Extending Lohse a qualifying offer would be the only way for GM John Mozeliak to obtain a compensatory draft pick next year. Without an offer, Lohse would leave and the Cardinals would get nothing.
If St. Louis does make Lohse an offer, he’d be tied to draft pick compensation and one of two things would happen: he’d accept and get locked in to a one-year deal at a salary of $13MM-plus, or he’d decline in search of a multiyear deal, setting St. Louis up for draft pick compensation in 2013.
The Cardinals will have other needs to address this offseason, such as bullpen help and a potential extension for Adam Wainwright, so spending $13MM on another starter might be considered a luxury. But they could move Lohse, who would generate trade interest on a one-year deal in the $13MM range.
If the Cardinals are willing to take this risk, they can set themselves up for draft pick compensation in 2013. If not, they can keep it simple and let Lohse depart without making him a qualifying offer. What should they do?
Yeah, it seems unlikely Lohse would accept it. So, I’d go ahead and make the offer. He is sure to get a three year deal or so from someone.
I just don’t see him accepting a qualifying offer. After an abysmal 2010 season, he’s put together two very strong seasons-including a career year in 2012. This off-season he will be 34, so this is perhaps his last shot at a multi-year deal. There’s simply too much risk (injury/poor performance) for him to not seek a multi-year deal. I expect agent Scott Boras to capitalize on the weak free agent crop this off-season and find his client a multi-year deal.
Worst case scenario, (if Lohse accepting a qualifying offer is considered a bad thing) the Cardinals can trade him to allocate funds to other needs.
1st someone has to offer a multi year offer to a 34YO SP with 2 decent seasons out of a dozen. A normal ball player, with an intelligent agent who didn’t have such an ego? Bad move on St. Louis’s part to offer arbitration. He isn’t going to get 13m AAV over 2 years even. Maybe 10m tops over 2 from some NL team.
Then again.. His agent is Scott Boras, who refuses arbitration regardless of how unwise it is for “his” client’s well being (see Jason Varitek after 2008) and it might at least give the cardinals a cheaper way to resign him, if they really want him back and after Lohse/Boras are humbled on the open market.
You are seriously under-valuing Kyle Lohse. I don’t care that he doesn’t throw 95MPH or stike out a batter per inning. He has completely changed the way he pitches and he is an excellent control pitcher. Ever since they figured out what was wrong with his arm(had never been seen in a baseball player before), he has been the Cardinals best pitcher.
In fact, there was an umpire a couple weeks ago that said Kyle Lohse is one of the hardest pitchers to call his game because he is ALWAYS on the the corners and throwing borderline strikes. He is a good pitcher that should easily fetch 3/$33MM on the open market. If no one wants to pay him that, I’d be happy to have him back on a 1 year $13MM contract.
That is just it and you explained it yourself. he isn’t going to get 13m AAV deal over more than the arbitration figure should he accept it and Boras just doesn’t do that with “his” FA.
3/33m? ehhh… Maybe, 3rd year probably a team option, but I can’t see a team giving up a 1st round pick and then giving him that much guaranteed.
It’s nothing personally against him. Just think his market is going to be limited to NL teams and if he is offered arbitration, somehow refuses arbitration, his market is going to be limited to teams with protected 1st round pick teams on any type deal guaranteeing him that much, going to arbitration, or signing that proposed 3/33m you suggested if he is after a LT contract.
If he is not offered arbitration? I still don’t really see 3/33m, except as the very top figure any team would offer. Cardinals also there more than likely. Possible could see LAD throwing some money his way with Billingsly out and Lohse could do well at Chavez Ravine, Lohse is a RH version of ted Lilly.
No he’s not going to get 13AAV over a multi-year contract. It’s pretty standard that you get less AAV for more years. Still a 3/$33MM is better than 1/$13MM for Lohse. You can bash him all you want. He is a solid #3 starter that will have success anywhere.
It’s not like am bashing him there and really.. Which FA SP are teams maybe willing to take the loss of a 1st round pick for that are available? Greinke and possibly Sanchez? Sanchez is 6 years younger and has that advantage and still wouldn’t be shocked if teams were hesitant to hang onto their 1st round pick rather than sign him and Sanchez has been fairly solid over the last 3Y since he has finally overcome various injuries.
See, when you say he isn’t going to get 13 million over 2 years, you seem to be working on the assumption that baseball teams don’t overpay starting pitchers or over value the previous year’s performance. I personally think the evidence suggests exactly the opposite. I’m willing to say that the majority of free agent starters coming off good years get overpaid
Nick Jordan Topping
I have a couple of problems with resigning Lohse. First, its a contract year, every pitchers goal is to pitch great in there contract year and he is doing just that, the last time he did that, the cardinals gave him a huge contract and then he sucked. I understand that he was injuired but, i just dont believe the he is one of the best pitchers who deserves a big contract. second, he is injuiry prone. He has just started being able to play again because he had so many injuiries at the beginning of his contract years. Lastly, he has scott boras as an agent and Boras makes everyone overpay for his players which i dont believe should be done for Lohse because he doesnt deserve big money.
The simple solution for the Cardinals to all of your concerns? Offer him a qualifying offer. If he doesn’t accept, they get a draft pick. If he does accept, you have a solid pitcher on a 1-year deal. So it’s not long-term and he is once again pitching in a contract year.
or if he accepts put him on the market. im sure some team will give up a decent prospect
For Kyle Lohse and his sure to be monstrous salary? Highly highly doubtful.
Cory J Wagoner
12-13 million is hardly a monstrous salary. I don’t see why the cardinals wouldn’t be able to get a decent prospect for lohse at 12 mill on a 1 year deal, especially coming off a career year trade value is high, more than fair salary, 1 year contract .. Good trade value
There will be some that say the Cards should offer the qualifying contract, but that hurts the likelihood that other teams will go after him in FA. If he turns it down and a team that is borderline as to whether or not on signing him, it might be the deciding factor. Both Lohse & the Cards are in a tough situation with this in some ways. If Boras & Lohse are wrong in their evaluations of the market, he might come out on the losing side and be forced to take a 1 year contract at less value with an option to prove he can do it again. If the Cards don’t give a qualifying offer it will look bad to some of the fan base.
Personally, i think they should not offer him one. The Cards have lots of pitching and have already signed a contract to bring Westbrook back. If Lohse were to, for whatever reason, accept the qualifying offer it would block pitching that is ready.
Players will have less time to accept qualifying offers (as opposed to arbitration in previous years) and will not know how the market is going to develop. Certainly, turning down the qualifying hurts him in free agency, from the standpoint of draft compensation, but the Cardinals must ask themselves how likely he is to seek a multi-year deal. My answer to that, all things considered (Boras’ track record as an agent, the free agent class, risk, etc) , is very likely–whether or not he gets what he is looking for in free agency is a different story. I don’t believe he will get a contract with a higher AAV of a qualifying offer ($13MM-$14MM range), but he should be able to secure significantly more guaranteed money.
This has Randy Wolf signing written all over it. Mid-30s soft tossing pitcher with an up and down career, coming off two strong seasons, including a career year. Maybe a team gets lucky with one or two years of a multi-year deal, but this has overpay written all over it.
Couldn’t have said it better.
Everyone always needs pitching. The cards have money. Where is the money that was going to Pujols? I say make the qualifying offer. It’s almost a certainty he won’t accept.
Seriously? It went to Furcal and Beltran.
At his age, I think he’d rather have the security of a mutiyear pact somewhere, don’cha think? Seems like a safe offer.
He won’t sign it, so there’s no reason not to.
Agreed. davbee hit the nail on the head above and you are right that he will not take the deal. EVERYONE is looking for starting pitching so there is no way he doesn’t get a similar deal to the one he signed 4 years ago. The Cardinals have more pressing needs so take the pick and let someone else take the risk.
Extend a qualifying offer and get the draft pick.
No reason not to offer it. With the year he’s had it would be a steal if he decides to take it. If he doesn’t, take the draft pick. It’s really a win, win situation for the Cards.