PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 01: Starting pitcher Kyle Lohse #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals walks off the field after being pulled during the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during Game One of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 1, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
St. Louis Cardinals right-handed starter Kyle Lohse is set to become a free agent at season's end, but if it were up to him, it doesn't have to be that way. Testing free agency could maximize Lohse's earnings for what could be his last chance at a significant contract, but the 33-year-old Lohse tells Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com he's willing to enter contract negotiations in-season.
"From a personal standpoint, I've had a great time here. If I reach free agency, there are a lot of other teams out there that I'm sure wouldn't mind having me fit in there. If it comes to that, we'll see with what matches up my wants with theirs."
Lohse is currently enjoying a career season and, according to Buster Olney of ESPN, the veteran could parley the success into "a really good four-year deal, maybe in the Mark Buehrle range of $58 million." On the year, Lohse has posted a 2.79 ERA across 148 1/3 innings of work.
Personally, I'd be hesitant to offer a four-year deal to a pitcher like Lohse (33, has peaked, doesn't miss many bats), given the limited upside. But we've seen teams in dire need of pitching willing to pay more than market value if it means getting a solid No. 3 starter.