Spring Training has already started for the 2013 MLB season and former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse is still a free agent, leaving many to wonder why. Lohse, who is coming off of his best season, posted a 16-3 record in 2012 with a 2.86 ERA and was considered the ace of the Cardinals pitching staff last season while Chris Carpenter sat out most of the season with an injury. In fact, Lohse in the past two seasons has posted a 30-11 record with 254 strikeouts and has become a fan favorite to many in Cardinals Nation.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has said many times this offseason that bringing Lohse back just does not fit into the scheme of things right now. I have a hard time understanding that and even more so now with Carpenter being out again this season. How can you say that a guy does not fit into the scheme with the record that Lohse had last season? How can you say no to a guy who’s ERA last season finished eighth best in all of the MLB, and his 16 wins finished tied for the 11th best in the league?
The Cardinals rotation needs help–it’s not that they have a bad rotation, but a lot of their younger pitchers are being used as relievers, and keeping a guy in the rotation with the experience of Lohse makes more sense than putting a young arm in with little to no experience. Also, the Cardinals still have Jake Westbrook, who has proved himself as very inconsistent, and Lohse is the guy who brings balance to that rotation.
Yes, Lohse is 34 years old, but signing him to a multi-year contract like he wants is not that big of a risk considering Carpenter will be 38 in April and Westbrook is 35. Signing Lohse to a three- or four-year deal is not taking that high of a risk, considering the pitchers in the past who have had some of their best seasons in their 30′s.
Is Mozeliak concealing something that the rest of us don’t know? Was the one-year, $13.3 million contract offer the Cardinals had in November a slap in the face to Lohse? Nobody knows, but whatever the situation is, the Cardinals need to resolve any issues and resolve them immediately.
Lohse wants a multi-year deal and honestly, he deserves it. Take the risk, sign him to a minimum of three years and get this deal done. There are rumors that the Brewers and Cubs are interested in Lohse and I think the last thing the Cardinals would want is to lose one of their best pitchers from the past two seasons to a division rival.
The season isn’t far away and the Cardinals are not helping themselves by prolonging an issue that should be a no brainer. Most Cardinals fans feel that if Mozeliak does not re-sign Lohse, it will do nothing to help his image, and honestly, I’m with that idea. This is possibly the best move the Cardinals can make to boost their chances this season and they really need Lohse more than Lohse needs them.