It appears that the Rangers and the Brewers are the most likely options for Cardinals free agent starter Kyle Lohse to find a multi-year deal.
The Rangers were rumored to be in on Lohse early. But they backed away, apparently waiting for his price to come down.
Lohse was expected to command a four-year contract in the $48-52 million range at the end of the 2012 season during which he was 16-3 with a 2.83 ERA. But, for whatever reason, Lohse has been ice cold from the word go.
Maybe teams don't like Lohse because he has very low strikeout numbers for a guy who wins so consistently. Some teams believe that if you aren't making the opposition swing and miss that you don't have very good stuff and that you're possibly in decline. But Lohse has never really been a strikeout pitcher.
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Milwaukee could really use some help in its rotation. But I'd be shocked if the Brewers pull the trigger on Lohse. First, they're probably still smarting from the last Cardinals hurler they signed to a big contract, Jeff Suppan. And, second, thanks to the Redbirds tendering Lohse an offer, the Brewers would have to hand St. Louis a high draft pick if they inked the righty.
I can't see that being a very palatable option.
Lohse is also a poor fit because Milwaukee would probably prefer to keep a deal shorter in length. But if it was going to give up a draft pick, it would make sense to try to get the most bang for the buck and land a player with a significant deal.
The Rangers would seem to be in a much better position to give up a draft pick. They have a good young shortstop currently signed to a team friendly deal. And they also own the contract of the top prospect in all of baseball, shortstop Jurickson Profar.
At some point Texas will likely part with one of them. And, with a young shortstop as a trading chip, they certainly could get a package of serious shortstops in return.
The only way I see Lohse back in St. Louis is if he decides to take a "pillow" contract and hit the market again in 2013-14. That's probably only going to happen if no other team offers a multi-year. deal.
The money being equal, Loshe would be better off playing in neutral Busch Stadium than the hitter-friendly ballpark in Texas. So Lohse's agent, Scott Boras is going to have to extract a multi-year deal that would likely be the pitcher's last big contract if St. Louis is in the weeds.
Baltimore and Boston were also interested in one point to be interested in Lohse. But it appears that they have backed out of the picture.