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Cardinals GM says re-signing Kyle Lohse “doesn’t make much sense for us”

Jan 11, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT

Kyle Lohse

Last week we learned that Kyle Lohse hasn’t received any offers as a free agent because of the draft pick compensation attached to signing him and hasn’t talked to the Cardinals since the season ended.

And today Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak made it even clearer that Lohse won’t be back in St. Louis, telling KFNS-590 radio “it doesn’t make much sense for us” to re-sign the 34-year-old right-hander.

Mozeliak went on to say that he doesn’t like to completely close a door, but it’s obvious that the Cardinals have little interest in re-signing Lohse given their strong rotation depth without him. That could change if Lohse is still without any offers next month and is willing to come back on the cheap, of course.

Lohse went 30-11 with a 3.11 ERA in 399 innings during the past two seasons, but no teams seem convinced that the Scott Boras client is worth forfeiting a draft pick to sign. He previously turned down a one-year, $13.3 million deal from the Cardinals in the form of a qualifying offer.

  1. number42is1 - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    This has been asked before but i have not seen an answer. at what point does the draft pick compensation go away and teams can sign him at will?

    • jonboy66 - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      After the first day of the draft. The first day is when the compensation picks are drafted. Once that happens, he is free to sign anywhere.

      • jwbiii - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        Which is usually the first Monday in June.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      It goes away once the draft is held – but of course if a player holds out until then, he misses half the season, so it would be pretty darn hard to make that up

  2. countduku - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    very unforunate situation for a real good pitcher too be in. almost seems unfair to him. the guys hand are tied. it seems like the system is allowing st. louis to rob him for whatever they want.

    • number42is1 - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM

      he was offered $13.3 Million for one year and he said no.. how is this on st. Louis?

      • iethesht - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        In my opinion, it’s only on St. Louis in regards that they’re using the system to limit his free market value. By offering him a one-year qualifying offer, he either takes that one-year deal or his price goes up by virtue of the draft pick. Basically, the draft pick becomes a tax on him that other teams would have to pay in order to sign him, and other teams don’t seem willing to do that.

        Personally, I don’t blame St. Louis, but I do feel really bad for Lohse and other free agents that are on the losing end of this aspect of the new CBA.

      • number42is1 - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        I understand the sentiment but on the other hand if it were a Verlander or a King Felix or an Albert Pujlos i think that teams would be lining up around the corner to sacrifice a draft pick. a Kyle Loshe, as good as he may be, is not worth the money + the potential of a first round draft pick. if this were 2 or 3 years ago (or whenever the new CBA rules went into effect) he would have been picked up in a heartbeat.

      • paperlions - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        StL isn’t limiting his market value. They simply offered him a deal so that they would receive compensation for losing a valuable player (i.e. a player that sees his market at sufficient to turn down a $13.3M qualifying offer).

        What is limiting his value is the system the MLBPA agreed to during the last CBA negotiation. I have zero sympathy. The MLBPA chose to screw amateur players by agreeing to a salary cap for drafts, while be opposed to the same concept for their own salaries. What is limiting his value isn’t the loss of the pick, but the spending ability that goes with it.

        Lohse (and a few other FAs) are paying the price for the MLBPA screwing players in the draft.

        Level of sympathy = 0

      • albertmn - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        This is all on Kyle and his agent for not recognizing that the draft pick would kill his market and just taking the one year offer from the Cards. He could have had $13.3 million and be getting in shape for Spring with no worries. $13.3 million is nothing to scoff at.

    • hojo20 - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      Don Fehr, is that you?

    • cardsfanindelaware - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      “Rob him for whatever they want” ?!?

      It is very unfortunate that Kyle is in this situation but blame ALL the people who approved the CBA, not just the ballclub. The player’s union ratified the agreement as well. I guess you feel the need to blame the F.O. for offering a qualifying offer to protect themselves, am I right?

      I believe Kyle will get signed by a team during spring training when a pitcher blows his elbow / shoulder out and are desperate to fill the void in their starting rotation.

      Personally I think the Cards should have offered Kyle a 2 year extension and cut Westbrook loose but it’s not my money making the decisions.

      The Cardinals have a robust farm system and have enough very good arms that need those roster spots, plus it saves the Redbirds mo money to spend elsewhere if needed.

      • Sign Ahead - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM

        I agree. This little fiasco belongs to everyone who voted for the current CBA.

      • paperlions - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        I think the Cardinals knew that there was no way Lohse wasn’t testing the FA market. He’s been great for the last 2 years. There wasn’t any reason for him to expect not to do better than a 2 year deal.

        I think teams are probably over-estimating the effect of losing their 1st round pick. Yeah, they’ll lose that pool money, but most draftees at those slots are going to be signing for close to that money anyway….they know that teams can’t afford to lose that pool money, and they lose all of the pool money if they don’t sign the pick.

    • gibbyfan - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:07 PM

      Really a little bit tough to feel sorry for any of baseballs FA’s. Sort of akin to feeling bad for a winner of a mega lotterybecause of having to pay a big tax bill. I’m sure Kyle will be fine even if he has to play somewhere for 12 million or so

  3. Marty McKee - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Reds fans know he isn’t really very good, and without Dave Duncan’s magic touch to guide him, his numbers will certainly drop like a rock.

    • cardsfanindelaware - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      His numbers are what they have been for the last 2 years WITHOUT Duncan being with the ballclub. Dunc helped Kyle during the 1st 2 years with wisdom and guidance, but Kyle has been on the one on the mound without Dave there…

      Kyle has been the rare exception for all the reclamation projects that Duncan has dealt with.

    • jonboy66 - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      He didn’t have Dave Duncan’s magic touch in 2012. But I understand your point.

    • jwbiii - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:47 AM

      Dave Duncan wasn’t the Cardinals’ pitching coach last season and Lohse had his best season, so maybe not.

    • Nick C - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      Funny thing is that he has generally had his way with the Reds. In 11 games against them he’s given up a collective .680 OPS including a paltry .581 OPS against in 3 games started v. the Reds last year.

      I think this typifies the view most fans have of Lohse and it is not the correct picture. As Lohse has gotten older he has steadily gotten better at locating any of 4 pitches on the edge of the strikezone. As a result his BB rate has dropped while his K rate has remained the same.

      Lohse is a better than average major league pitcher who is a virtual lock for 200 above average innings. As a Cardinals fan I will miss his steady presence in the rotation. I would be delighted if he came back for one year at something approaching the tender offer. I think it would make great sense for the Cardinals to offer him 1yr at 10m with an agreement not to extend the qualifying offer at the end of the year.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        I would also like to see him come back. If it can be down without breaking the bank.
        As someone else stated though…I have a feeling he will find a spot in ST when dudes arms start falling off and teams need pitching on the quick.

      • Marty McKee - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        Lohse has a below average ERA+ after 12 seasons in the big leagues (and his lifetime ERA is 4.45). Duncan may not have physically been with the Cardinals the last two seasons, but he worked with Lohse before that, and the Cardinals’ pitching staff is still obviously run using Duncan’s methods and philosophies, so the fact that Duncan technically wasn’t there is a moot point.

        Plus, you know what “regress to the means” means, and if you think Lohse will post another 134 ERA+ next year, I would be happy to lay some wagers with you. He isn’t a worthless pitcher, and on a team desperate for starting pitching, he will probably be an okay #4 starter.

      • paperlions - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        Yeah, because if Lohse doesn’t repeat last year he’s totally useless. There is a huge gap between what Lohse did last year and a highly productive pitcher worth $13M/yr.

        Regression to the mean, for a player, is a regression to their true talent level. You are assuming that a players’ talent level is fixed throughout his career, which, of course, is not true.

  4. Ben - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    This doesn’t make a bit of sense for the Cardinals. They don’t lose a pick if they re-sign him, much like the Nats don’t lose a pick for resigning Adam LaRoche. Resign him cheap for depth, and if you don’t need the depth, flip him in June.

    • bolweevils2 - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:16 PM

      Sure they lose a pick if the resign him. They losing out on the pick they would get from some other team if another team signs him. So they are still getting one less draft pick than they would if they didn’t sign him.

      The only way the aren’t losing a pick is if no one signs him until after the draft.

      • Ben - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        Sure, but as of now, unless a team gets desperate, Lohse isn’t signing for a while. So the Cardinals either get starting pitching depth (ask the Braves how valuable that is) or they get to trade him for prospects. At best, they get prospects who may or may not be worth more than a draft pick, or they get depth on a team that might need it to make the playoffs. Worst, it’s a wash.

      • albertmn - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        I could be wrong, but I don’t think the team (Cardinals in this case) get the pick from the other team. I believe the other team loses its 1st round pick (or 2nd if they are in the top 10, which are protected). The Cardinals then would get a compensatory pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds. So, they would still get a pick if Lohse signs elsewhere, but it isn’t the 1st round pick of the team that signs him.

      • paperlions - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        First, there is no indication that Lohse is willing to sign cheaply.

        Second, the Cardinals need right now is not the rotation. They have at least 8 viable options for the rotation (Wainwright, Carpenter, Westrbook, Lynn, Garcia, Kelly, Rosenthal, Miller). There is no reason to spend $10M or more of your budget for depth you don’t need, at least, not right now.

  5. blacksables - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    If you asked a girl to the prom, and she turned you down telling you she was hoping for a better offer, and then the day of the prom, came back and asked you becasue she couldn’t get a date, would you go? Or tell her to go pound sand?

    This is purely hypothetical, of course, and there is not bitterness at all in my question.

  6. alexb64 - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    I’m starting to wonder if MLB will be facing a CBA standoff in 2016. I only wonder because of stories like this & the stuff I’ve read where the Yankees are being taken out of the equation because (laughably) they’re on a “budget” which is a little silly, but likely important to agents & players who like to use teams like them to drive up their offers. Especially with the PA obviously giving a MAJOR way with the HGH testing, I have to think at some point the union will point to draft pick compensation & luxury taxes as things that are negatively effecting them as free agents. Lohse out there, Rafael Soriano seemingly sitting around waiting until teams don’t have to give up a draft pick to get him & you could maybe even consider how late some of the big ticket free agents are signing. When they sign late, it leaves a good deal of lower tier guys stuck in limbo.

    I don’t think it will be anything that results in missed games, but maybe a deadline deal like 2002.

    • albertmn - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      I don’t understand how HGH testing would be the PA “giving” something. I understand they will look at it that way. But, everyone should be trying to catch any cheaters. It shouldn’t be a bargaining tool. Only dirty players should have a reason to not want it. In the same vein, if there were safety issues that could be implemented, the teams should do it, and cover the cost to protect their investments. That also should not be a bargaining tool.

    • paperlions - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      The HGH testing was agreed to in the last CBA, they were just haggling over how to implement it. That concession was already traded for something.

  7. cackalackyank - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    “no teams seem convinced that the Scott Boras client is worth forfeiting a draft pick”

    Wow look at that…another Boras client that miscalculated his market in the face of draft pick compensation. Say hey to Soriano for me.

  8. icanspeel - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    To make things worse.. besides losing the draft pick and paying for the free agent.. the team that signs a player such as Lohse also loses the slot value of the draft pick from their total draft spending limit.

    • paperlions - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      While true, that is as important as is being made out. In part, because draftees know that teams must sign them or they loss the slot value anyway….so draftees have leverage themselves. For the team, it is better to save $100K to go toward another pick and to sign the guy you drafted than it is to refuse to sign him, in which case you don’t get the guy you drafted or the ability to spend any of the money associated with his draft slot.

  9. xmatt0926x - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    On the positive side, when he finally can be picked up without draft pick compensation in June or whenever, he’ll be able to see by then who is in contention and then take his pick of what city he wants to go to. Teams won’t have to empty their farm system at the trade deadline to get him. He’ll do ok.

    • cur68 - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      …and be that much more rested because of it. This could work out real well in Lohse’s favour if he performs up to his usual standards after he’s collected in June (almost certainly he’ll score a deal in June if not sooner). He might see that big payday after all if the team he’s chatting with REALLY needs him. Things could come up Millhouse for him, in spite of how it looks now.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        I dunno Cur, Oz tried that route. I’m not sure any pitcher short of Clemens can sit out half a season and then “Turn it on” so to speak. Missing ST and the first couple of months is hazardous to your performance.

      • cur68 - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        Ah, I just wanted to use the term “coming up Millhouse”. I agree with you.

      • rocketsteadman - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        Everything’s coming up Milhouse needs to be used more often

  10. judahbenhur - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    The scary thing is that Lohse has pitched better than Grienke and is arguably a bigger and better add, at least for this upcoming season. The guy is 30-11 over the past two years and has abetter ERA than Grienke. Boras really gave this guy bad advice.

    • cackalackyank - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      The Devil you say! Scott Boras gave bad advice? Unpossible.

  11. unclearnie - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Perhaps a team that has already given up it’s 1st round pick for another free agent would be willing to give up it’s second for him…

  12. westcoastredbird - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Usually by this time Boras as created the market and has a team bidding against itself. In the case for Lohse it seems that the Dodgers could sign him and not lose a first round draft pick because they already gave it up to the Angels when they signed Greinke. The Cards would get a compensatory instead. The Rangers may be in the same boat when Hamilton signed with the Angels. No way a bad team signs him and gives the Cards a cherry pick.

  13. wonderkt - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    I don’t “blame” the Cardinals, Lohse, or Boras for the situation. Everyone knows the rules, and negotiations are just a big game. The first thing to understand is that none of the parties give out any information unless there is a purpose to it. One side will win, and the other side will lose. That’s just how it works. And, whenever it’s resolved, everyone will say they are happy with how it all worked out.

  14. buckemtp - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    A cardinals post in hbt without some sort or snarky comment thrown in?! Whoa.

    And aren’t the players the first to bring out the “it’s a business first and foremost” line? The cardinals have plenty of rotation depth and it doesn’t make sense to block a Shelby Miller or Trevor Rosenthal for however many more years of Kyle Lohse.

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