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Cardinals Shouldn't Pursue Kyle Lohse in Chris Carpenter's Absence

Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at 7:54 PM

The St. Louis Cardinals have lost Chris Carpenter for 2013, and possibly for good.

Former Cardinal turned free agent Kyle Lohse is still without a team.

It seems like a logical fit, but not necessarily.

Lohse was good for the Cardinals when he was healthy. Once he got his forearm issue under control, he became a valuable asset to the team. He had a successful 2012 going 16-3 and leading the National League in win percentage.

He was in the best position of his career to go into free agency. Thanks to the changes to draft pick compensation for free agents, however, no one seems willing to take a gamble on him.

The Cardinals may fit into that same mold.

While on the surface it may seem like the easy move, in reality the Cardinals and Lohse aren't the tight fit they were.

There are several reason the Cardinals should move on.

First, Lohse is seeking more than the Cardinals will want to pay--both in dollars and years.

If it were for one year, they might be able to make a deal work, but otherwise it wouldn't be in the best interest of either party.

From a performance perspective, the chances that Lohse could have a better 2013 performance to further springboard his free agency is slim. While it's possible, that would be a huge gamble on his part.

This is his final chance for a decent payday and a one-year deal would likely hinder him.

From the Cardinals perspective, they have tons of young pitching. Several of those young arms project as starters so to bring in another long-term veteran simply wouldn't make sense.

Second, the Cardinals hope to re-sign Adam Wainwright. Paying Lohse $14 million per year would likely complicate any negotiations with Wainwright.

Besides, with Carpenter going on the DL as opposed to retiring they will have to continue paying him this season. Losing Carpenter is not going to create any payroll flexibility.

Signing an additional big league pitcher would mean increasing their payroll beyond its current limits.

Third, the Cardinals are comfortable with the options they have and, in all reality, may not need Lohse.

Between Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly, Jr., there is a strong crop of future pitchers ready to take to the mound in 2013. In an effort to make the best of a bad situation, the Cardinals have an opportunity to push their youth to the forefront this year and build toward their future.

Last, but not least, the Cardinals gain a draft pick if Lohse signs elsewhere. If they sign him, they forfeit that pick.

With so many young arms making the move now to the big league team, they will be looking to add more new talent to the farm system. With one of the most stacked minor league systems in MLB, there is little doubt they would like to keep that reputation.

Throwing away high draft picks is not the way to do that.

There is still one x-factor in play that could affect how the Cardinals view Lohse: Jaime Garcia.

While the front office and Garcia believe he has improved, until he arrives at Spring Training and begins to pitch, nothing is certain.

In the event that there is a problem with Garcia, that would leave the Cardinals with two veterans in their rotation: Adam Wainwright and Jake Westbrook. That is not the ideal scenario.

That is the only scenario where I can see the Cardinals making a move for Lohse.

Cardinals' general manager John Mozeliak has shown that he is quite savvy when it comes to juggling the roster and dealing players, so there is little reason to doubt that the Cardinals will manage to work around this loss as they have many before it.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I'd love to know why someone thought it was a good idea to sign Westbrook in the middle of the year when everyone knew Lohse was going to be a free agent. I wouldn't have been that upset if Westbrook signed with someone else before a resolution was reached on a Lohse contract. I would make every effort to sign Lohse. I'm not sure the Cardinals have enough pitching to win this year if they don't sign him. One has to wonder if the reason he hasn't signed with anyone is he doesn't want to play anywhere else. I think he is worth close to what he is rumored to be asking.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Wed, Feb 6, 2013, at 12:22 AM

We need to find the solution to the problem from within. The mentality to "win now" is what has killed teams in the past. We have a group of "Young Guns" waiting to explode onto the big stage; hope it happens!!

-- Posted by dejackson on Wed, Feb 6, 2013, at 8:16 AM

exactly, dejackson. we have tyrell jenkins, carlos martinez and more that are going to make their pitching debuts very soon in the bigs. its not likely that they will all reach max potential, but the cardinals have like the 3rd best farm system in the league, i think i read that somewhere and that ranking is due in large part to the young arms coming up for the cardinals.

-- Posted by uptobat on Wed, Feb 6, 2013, at 5:29 PM

I believe the Cardinals are strong enough without adding Loshe for 15-17 million a year. With Wain, Westbrook, Trevor, Shelby, Lynn, and Garcia I think we are strong enough to compete. I did not mention Kelly, because I am not a fan of him. Maybe he improved in the offseason and will succeed this year. In my mind, like Corey's, Garcia is walking that thin line too.

I hope Wain, W-brook, Trevor, Shelby, and Lynn can pull it off without going to Loshe, as much as I like him.

Anyone else wonder why Loshe didn't get signed by anyone? Was he holding out for St. Louis? Did his good friend Carp lead on that he was hurting? Loshe may be thinking the Cards will hook him up with big bucks because they are desperate.

St. Louis has made past mistakes, hopefully spending 15-17 million on Kyle Loshe won't be another, because I don't believe he has 17 wins in him.

-- Posted by Blogdog on Thu, Feb 7, 2013, at 12:50 PM

I'm comfortable with being in minority opinion. It remains my opinion Walt Jocketty was 300 times better as a general manager than current management and he would resign Lohse and Pujols. Perhaps LaRussa would still be managing if Jocketty was GM. It will be interesting to see if Jocketty finds a way to win more division titles with less revenue than the Cardinals before he retires.

I encourage everyone to participate in debate. I welcome / love alternative opinions!!!

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 10, 2013, at 3:59 AM
Corey Noles
Hey Dustin! I'll chat with ya!

I was a HUGE Jocketty fan during his time with the Cardinals and thought the team had lost their mind when they cut him loose. I mean, you have to like someone who can bring in Jim Edmonds for Adam Kennedy and Kent Bottenfield. That's kind of like saying I'll trade you these two shiny quarters for your crumpled up twenty dollar bill. He managed to make those deals happen.

I was not a fan of Mozeliak early on and a lot of that just boiled down to thinking the Jocketty move was wrong. In the last few years, however, I've gained a new respect for Mo. He's basically the opposite. Jocketty was old school ball - which is fine. Mo is new school, moneyball. That's also fine. Mo has found a way to make players like Rzepczynski and Mujica real difference makers. How? He's a fan of advanced analytics. Jocketty was not. Both systems have their flaws, but they both have their upsides, too.

The interesting thing about Mo is that he has been more open to incorporating both and, so far, it's been a good recipe for success. While they didn't win last year, the Cardinals were within one game of a second consecutive World Series. That's not too shabby. 26 other teams would have killed to have been there.

In the end, I like the blended style. I think to be a successful GM you have to embrace the new analytics, but at the same time accept that there are some things only scouts can see as well.

As always, thanks for reading Dustin! It's nice to have someone to talk baseball with.

I will add I might be 1,000 times wrong. Time will tell before Jocketty retires.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Sun, Feb 10, 2013, at 4:22 AM

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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