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Rumor Mill: Kyle Lohse

The Red Sox are close to signing starting pitcher Ryan Dempster to fill a hole in their starting rotation, according to Fox Sports -- which means former Cardinals hurler Kyle Lohse's options may be running out.

Boston has also been rumored to be interested in Lohse. But his ageny, Scott Boras, has been holding out for a contract of four years or longer. The Red Sox deal with Dempster, who turned down an offer from Milwaukee because it was only for two seasons and the Brewers wouldn't consider a third, is likely a three-year deal.

Lohse's best remaining options seems to be the Angels who lost two frontline starters this off-season. Former Cardinals pitcher Dan Haren's option wasn't picked up and Ervin Santana was traded to Kansas City as part of the Royals 25-year effort to get out of the basement of their division.

It's beginning to lool like Lohse might have to soften his demands and take a shorter deal -- unless Anaheim owner Artie Moreno goes nuts again and starts passing out ridiculous contracts like candy on halloween.

But even the Angels have to realize at this point that the market for Lohse is thin and it is unlikely he's going to get a four-year deal unless someone panics.

Lohse, for whatever reason, hasn't fared well as a free agent. In the winter before the 2008 season he couldn't find a deal on a multi-year contract anyplace. So he ended up signing a way below market contract with the Cardinals for one season. Then, immediately after the season concluded, St. Louis snapped up Lohse for four years and $41 million.

Making up for being under paid, Lohse performed poorly for a year and a half after he was hit on the forearm by a line drive. But he was very good the last two seasons, filling a major hole for the Cardinals at the front of the rotation when first Adam Wainwright and then Chris Carpenter missed almost an entire season each in consecutive seasons.

I wouldn't mind seeing Lohse come back if he couldn't find a contract elsewhere. But I can't see that happening this time. Somebody will pay him $12 million on a one-year deal. And the Cardinals can't really afford that this year.