Kyle Lohse set career bests in innings pitched, wins, strikeouts, ERA, FIP, xFIP, and WHIP in 2012. The man wants to get paid. The only offer Kyle Lohse has received so far this winter was the $13.3 million qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals that he and his agent, Scott Boras, rejected. Like the navy Cardinals cap, Kyle Lohse may no longer have a future in St. Louis, thanks in large part to the qualifying offer that his most recent employer floated his way. By ensuring themselves that they would receive a compensatory draft choice from any team that elects to sign Kyle Lohse, the Cardinals hold all the leverage in any potential reunion with the right handed pitcher. So Kyle Lohse waits.
Kyle Lohse understands the predicament he is in, he does not like it, but he understands it. It is a tweak to Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement that currently limits Kyle Lohse’s options. This same tweak threatens Scott Boras’ “Mr. January” title, too, so I’ve read. “It’s not exactly the situation I envisioned, not at all,” Kyle Lohse said in a telephone interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday. “It hasn’t been exactly a free market because I’m tied to a draft pick and other guys in my class aren’t. That comes at a price. You can’t compare this to anything in the past because it hasn’t been like this,” he added. It certainly hasn’t been like this before. It’s as though the system is set up so that an aging pitcher may be forced to accept what appears to be a fair market value qualifying offer. So Kyle Lohse waits.
Kyle Lohse waits for a team to come along that is desperate enough for a pitcher in his mid-30s and it is willing meet his contract demands. This team must view Lohse’s services valuable enough to eschew a draft selection and its associated bonus dollars. This is complicated because any prospective interested parties with an ounce of analytical proficiency will look at Lohse’s .262 BABIP from 2012 and say “Hey, there’s no way this guy keeps this up”. So Kyle Lohse waits.
I can sympathize with Kyle Lohse because he pitched his guts out last season. His guts are scattered all over the baseball diamonds of the National League, and a handful of American League parks, too. Kyle Lohse ate a lot of innings in 2012. He spread the innings over toast, he made an innings roast. In terms of Cardinals starters’ innings pitched, Kyle Lohse ate the most. Unfortunately, eating innings doesn’t guarantee a significant payday, unless you’re Edwin Jackson. So Kyle Lohse waits.