Yesterday’s post was about appreciating the 2012 contributions of St. Louis Cardinals free-agent-to-be pitcher Kyle Lohse. I’ve also written several posts recently about the future of Adam Wainwright, whose contact runs through the 2013 season.
In discussion at The Cardinal Nation message board, a possible connection between the two was raised by a poster. It was an idea that I had not considered fully, so I will share it here and solicit comments.
The thought is to use Lohse as a fallback option for Wainwright as the long-term stabilizing force in the Cardinals rotation.
The scenario would go something like this.
The Cardinals approach Wainwright about a long-term deal. If he balks at talking now or does negotiate but does not agree to terms acceptable to the team, they break off discussion and push to re-sign Lohse to a long-term deal instead.
Would the threat of the Cardinals using the money earmarked for Wainwright on Lohse be a motivator for Wainwright to commit early or could it prematurely polarize the relationship between Wainwright and the team?
With the prices of pitching going up, would it be better to force a decision on Wainwright’s long-term future now?
Now, I admit that I do not see Lohse heading any rotation for a number of years as Wainwright could, but with the Cardinals having a number of pitching prospects at or near the majors, could Lohse be enough?
If Lohse signs, the Cardinals would have both pitchers in 2013. Or, in an alternate scenario, with Lohse locked up, the Cardinals would trade Wainwright during this off-season while his value would be highest in the market. (Remember that under the new CBA, players traded during their final season of a contract are not eligible for draft pick compensation if they sign elsewhere.)
Some fans, recalling the messy ending to the Albert Pujols situation, would advocate the trade idea. They would rather have the combination of players that could be acquired in trade at the end of this season versus risking having one final year of Wainwright in 2013 and getting draft pick compensation in 2014 when he leaves.
Or course, that last “when” is still only really an “if,” since if there was no early divorce, the possibility would remain that the Cardinals and Wainwright could come to terms during the 2013 season or following it, when Wainwright would hit the market as a free agent for the first time in his career.
What do you think? Please vote on the three questions that follow and offer any comments below.