The St. Louis Cardinals' general manager didn't mince words when prompted about Kyle Lohse's potential return.
Well, so much for everyone's favorite(?) counterfactual Kyle Lohse rumor: In a recent radio appearance, John Mozeliak made it about as clear as he could that the St. Louis Cardinals were not a likely destination for the pitcher the free agency market left behind. Via MLB Daily Dish, this firm not-quite-denial:
Mozeliak on the chance of Lohse coming back: I hate to close doors...just because you never know...but it doesn't make much sense for us.— Tim McKernan (@tmckernan) January 11, 2013
Lohse went into free agency about as strongly as he could—his 16-3 season in 2012 had to be among baseball's more improbable career years—but after looking like a lock for a multi-year contract in November he's run into exactly the kind of trouble a veteran starter who's most valuable to a contender willing to overpay for him can't afford.
That is: Draft pick trouble. Declining the Cardinals' qualifying offer of one year, $13 million means Lohse will cost all but the worst teams their first-round draft pick when he signs, and the worst teams likely have little interest in a thirtysomething who will probably drift back towards inning-eatery in 2013. (Derrick Goold wrote an interesting story about Lohse's struggles to find a match willing to surrender their first-rounder last week.)