It seems almost too obvious, doesn’t it?
While the news of staff ace Chris Carpenter‘s setback and potential retirement wasn’t what the St. Louis Cardinals wanted to hear at this point of the season, it certainly changed the situation around Kyle Lohse, who had a career year with the team in 2012 but then opted for the open market in search for a big payday.
Well, it’s February, that payday hasn’t come along for Lohse and the Cardinals suddenly find themselves short of an ace. The two have substantial history together and Lohse was never better than when he was working with pitching maestro Dave Duncan and company. Might as well just call it a done deal, yes?
Maybe not. At least that’s what team GM John Mozeliak will have us believe, anyway:
Mozeliak on whether or not he’d bring back Lohse: We’re comfortable with what we have.
— Tim McKernan (@tmckernan) February 5, 2013
He has a good point. The Cardinals’ starting pitching might have its share of question marks (with Carpenter being a major one), but it does not lack in depth. The long-awaited arrival of Shelby Miller finally came last season and he should be able to step into the rotation in 2013. There’s also Joe Kelly, who made 16 starts last season and posted a respectable 3.53 ERA.
In short, the Cardinals aren’t desperate and they don’t need to immediately seek outside help. They are, however, edged slightly towards that direction and Mozeliak did not rule out the possibility of trying to acquire another player – he just doesn’t want to point out Lohse as the only focus.
Though, being that he’s the most notable pitcher still out there, it’s difficult not to. The 34-year-old pitched a career-high 211 innings last season to excellent results, but age and declining velocity have thus far scared off potential suitors for the Scott Boras-represented pitcher. If you’re thinking that Mozeliak is trying to brush off the suggestion of re-signing Lohse as a preliminary negotiation tactic, well, that might not be too far off, given the agent that he would have to deal with.
I’ve written before that trying to acquire groundballer Rick Porcello from the Detroit Tigers would make sense for the Cards (if they were looking for outside help), and it seems like an even better fit now. That said, the team’s management does not have a habit of making immediate, emergency-type decisions and they will have all of Spring Training to evaluate what they have in-house if they have to.
Still, Carpenter’s injury will likely get the wheels spinning on the team potentially having to acquire a pitcher from an outside source and that may include starting up conversations with Lohse again.