I hate to run up the white flag of surrender. But the Cardinals chances of making the 2011 post season are getting pretty thin.
So I wonder if the Birds might be wise to place starting pitcher Kyle Lohse on waivers.
I'm not trying to say Lohse is a bad pitcher. But he's set to make just shy of $12 million next season when the Birds have a bunch of free agent fish to fry. He was an albatross on the payroll his first two seasons after signing a four-year contract with the Cardinals in 2008 with a forearm problem that kept him from pitching effectively most of the time and at all the rest of it.
But, especially after his impressive win Wednesday over the Pirates, Lohse is at his highest value to other clubs. He's 11-7 with a 3.33 ERA in 2011. He's allowed 139 hits in 154 innings with a walks and hits per inning average of 1.12.
Lohse has a no-trade clause that could make dealing him now -- or over the off-season -- a problem. But if a pitching hungry playoff contender -- or a team trying to keep a pitching hungry competitor from bettering itself -- claimed Lohse on waivers, the Redbirds could at least shed his $11.87 million salary.
Give that cash to Albert Pujols on top of the $16 million a season he already makes and you're at $27 million a year without batting an eyelash. The Cardinals could re-sign Chris Carpenter to a two-year extension for $10 million or so a year instead of picking up his option for $15 million in 2012 and Adam Wainwright would return to assume Lohse's spot in the rotation.
I suspect the Cardinals could let Edwin Jackson walk and fill the fifth spot with the winner of a competition between Kyle McClellan, Lance Lynn, Mitchell Boggs and a cheap free agent insurance policy type.