The new year has arrived, and while bright hopes and expectations typically accompany the turning over of the Gregorian calendar, someone forget to tell right-hander Kyle Lohse. The free-agent did not sound optimistic about his market this winter while talking with Tim McKernan of 590 The Fan this morning in St. Louis.
Lohse (16-3, 2.86) said, among other things, that he had not spoken with the Cardinals in three or four months, which put his chances at re-signing with St. Louis highly unlikely. The 34-year-old also talked about how his being tied to a draft pick (and the corresponding budget) has made his market a "quiet" one.
Lohse is one of four free agents remaining -- along with Michael Bourn, Adam LaRoche, and Rafael Soriano -- who were made a $13.5 million qualifying offer by their incumbent club prior to hitting the open market. This means that any club (except the Cardinals) that takes a flyer on the right-hander will have to give up their top pick in next year's draft, so long as that pick is not in the top 10.
While clubs may not be so concerned with losing a low first-round pick, the new draft rules allot a specific budget to each team that hinges on high draft picks. If a team loses a top pick to sign a free agent tied to a qualifying offer, they lose the money allotted to that spot -- money that could have been spent to guarantee signings elsewhere in the draft.