Right hander Kyle Lohse was the most consistently effective starter this season for the St. Louis Cardinals and was rewarded with starts in two winner-take-all playoff games.
After a 16-3 regular season that saw him post a sparkling 2.86 ERA, Lohse is set to hit the free agent market for what could be his final big contract. Lohse wrapped up a four-year, $41 million deal signed prior to the 2009 season. He went 40-29 with a 3.95 ERA during the life of that contract, but 30-11 over the past two years. The bulk of his recent success can be attributed to a significantly lower walk rate in the past two seasons than he had shown in his career previously.
As usual, the starting pitching figures to be at a premium on the free agent market, so Lohse could slot into that second-tier of starters and land himself a fairly sweet deal.
Despite his success in the Gateway city, the Cardinals have shown little inclination to bring Lohse back for another run in St. Louis. Lohse’s home has been on the market for better than two months and the Cardinals have yet to approach Lohse’s agent, Scott Boras, about a new deal.
It is believed Boras will be seeking close to $15 million per year over a length of three years for his client. That is a price apparently too high for the Cardinals.
Lohse is a dominant fly ball pitcher with a mediocre strikeout rate, but excellent command. He could be an attractive option for clubs in bigger ballparks that missed out on the top five or six starters on the market. My guess is that he’ll fall short of his desired salary, but he may find someone to give him the years he wanted.