Edwin Jackson nears deal while Lohse lingers on the market

Posted by Scott Wuerz on December 20, 2012 

Its almost unbelievable that a pitcher who has been so good for the last two seasons is still on the market.

But Kyle Lohse is still without a deal as we near Christmas. Meanwhile even former Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson appears to be near a deal. Supposedly the Cubs are on the verge of paying Jackson, a talented yet erratic pitcher, $52 million over four seasons.

It's typical of the Cubs to opt for a flashy guy who strikes out hitters -- but who gets himself in to trouble with too many walks and inopportune home runs -- over the less exciting but more productive ground ball pitcher who is Lohse. But I can't believe somebody isn't interested in the 2012 winner of 16 games.

I have said before that I didn't see a route back to St. Louis for Lohse who ended up here in the first place when he couldn't get a long term deal five years ago. But I wonder if it might be in his best interests to ask the Redbirds for another one-year deal and a promise that the club won't make him a qualifying offer after 2013.

Because the Cardinals offered Lohse the $13.3 million qualifying offer this free agent period, a team that signs him would have to surrender a draft pick. It seems only the Red Sox are interested in making that sacrifice. And they're only willing to talk to Lohse about a three-year deal when he wants four. But, truth be told, Lohse would prefer to pitch out west instead of on the East Coast.

If he offered to play in St. Louis for one year for $10 million, I don't see how the Cardinals could pass that up.

I know they've got a ton of young pitchers ready to burst onto the big league scene. But I believe a team can never have too much pitching... Especially when your top two starters have each missed one of the last two seasons with serious injuries. I'd welcome back Lohse with open arms on a short term deal. And I think it would significantly improve the Redbirds to make that move in an otherwise boring off season. Who knows, if Adam Wainwright and/or Chris Carpenter leave as a free agent, the Cardinals might want to keep Lohse around for a longer term.

I can't read Lohse's mind. But if it was me, and I had the $40 million he banked on his previous Cardinals deal, I would rather take a $10-million, one-year contract to pitch in a place where I am comfortable than sign a three-year deal for $12 million a year to play somewhere with a team less likely to contend and a rabid baseball media. If he has another decent season, he still ought to be able to get that same three-year contract next year. And, if he suffered a career-ending injury, he'd still be set for life.

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