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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Would you use Lohse to force an early decision from Wainwright?

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.

Would you approach Wainwright on a contract extension now?

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If Wainwright is not a quick sign by this fall, would you try to re-sign Lohse instead?

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If Wainwright is not a quick sign by this fall, would you trade him prior to next season?

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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68 Responses to “Would you use Lohse to force an early decision from Wainwright?”

  1. crdswmn says:

    I think my view point on this matter would not be hard to guess. JUST PAY THE MAN.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Easier said than done. Would you pay him whatever it takes now or wait until next year?

      • crdswmn says:

        I would pay him now. But I make no pretensions of being reasonable or judicious on this issue. I am speaking from my personal preference to have him on this team, whatever it takes. I don’t think he will be unreasonable, but I have no factual basis to make that statement other than vague impressions that he is a reasonable guy,

  2. CariocaCardinal says:

    I see no indication that a pitcher of the quality of Lohse will not be available for a similar price on the open market. Not sure I can say that about Wainwrght. If you want to try to lock Wainwright up long term at this point, fine, then try to do it. But I see no reason to tie the two.

  3. blingboy says:

    There is no reason to think the Schmalbert scenario is any more likely than the Yadi Scenario.
    Yadi signed during ST, IIRC, before his option year regular season began.

    The Cards have about $93M committed to 9 guys next year, and they have six guys arb eligible including Freese, Motte and Boggs. Beyond 2013 there is only about $40M on the books.

    They will also want to look at locking up Jay at some point in the next year unless his wheels fall off.

  4. Bw52 says:

    Cards have another season to deal with AW.As for Lohse…………………enjoy your new team.IMO Cards simply don`t need to spend another 10 to 12 million on a pitcher next year.Lohse just isn`t worth the big dolllars he will probably want.If AW wants too much cash then let him go elsewhere.No one player is bigger than the team.People should realize that by now.With all the young arms coming up in the system Cards should be okay.

  5. blingboy says:

    Haard to believe they get paid for that.

  6. Bw52 says:

    pitiful game.Did everybody have the feeling Alvarez was going to nail one.The mans a Card-killer.Time to regroup.

    • kray66 says:

      They’ve “got no marbles” to quote the sequel to a famous baseball movie. Didn’t look like any of them really cared they just got whipped by the Pirates two games in a row.

  7. Brian Walton says:

    ESPN noted the last time the Cards were shut out two straight by Pittsburgh was in 1992.

  8. blingboy says:

    Jay continued doing a nice job getting on base leading off.

  9. crdswmn says:

    Today is Waino’s 31st birthday. How about a nice big contract as a present?

  10. blingboy says:

    Kyle needs to stop getting photographed next to Wainy.

  11. crdswmn says:

    I watched some of the Memphis game this afternoon. The Redbirds really lit up the Omaha pitcher in the first inning, 6 runs and 10 batters. Lance Berkman played one inning. He got a base hit in his first at bat and was replaced by a pinch runner. He left the game and the stadium apparently because the announcers said he was heading for DC. I wonder if he will be in the dugout tonight?

    Adron Chambers is hitting .311 in Memphis folks. No doubt he will be a call up. I hope he can translate some of that hitting to the big leagues.

  12. Bw52 says:

    Marshmallow man Garcia puts the team in a quick hole.Jeeez……………..the way things have gone the last 2 games 2 runs might be enough.

  13. Bw52 says:

    Jumbo-nobody said it was easy.Watching major league players totally stink 3 games in a row kind of ticks me off.I doubt if i am alone in having those feelings.Right now the pitching sucks,the hitters are inept and it is pitiful.

  14. Bw52 says:

    Jumbo-this team should be ashamed to call themselves professionals after the last 3 games.Absolutely awful.No excuses.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      There are 162 games. Ups and downs. Good not to get too emotional. Its just a game for fans, work for the players. There is no reason for them to feel ashamed. They will get back to work tomorrow.

  15. crdswmn says:

    Okay, worst case scenario on Furcal. If it’s bad and his season is over, do the Cardinals go with Descalso and/or Jackson for the remainder? Too late to get someone outside the org unless Mo can pull off a miracle before midnight tomorrow. Would they bring up Greg Carcia even though Springfield is in the playoffs?

    • crdswmn says:

      Oh well, at least we know Mo is on it. Can’t say as I blame him, thought it didn’t seem to distract Carp last year. Everyone is different I guess. I just don’t want to see another Pujolsian mistake.

    • CariocaCardinal says:

      From the linked article

      ” Reluctant to do anything that might distract from his or the club’s momentum,….”

      Well, this team has solved that momentum problem for you Wainy, I guess you can negotiate now.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Sounds like code for “They didn’t offer enough to make it worth my while to give up my leverage and sign early.”

      FWIW, if I was Wainwright, I’d do the exact same thing.

      • crdswmn says:

        Well, it ‘s possible Mo didn’t even make an initial offer, just approached him about negotiations and Waino said not yet. But even if there was an offer made, I doubt Mo would insult Waino by offering him peanuts. That said, I don’t blame Waino for thinking he’d get a better offer in the offseason.

        • Brian Walton says:

          …and even better offers as a free agent in the fall of 2013…

          • crdswmn says:

            Really Brian, I didn’t take you as the trolling type. 😉

            Either that or the Pujols experience has turned you into a cynic.

            • Brian Walton says:

              No, I am a realist. Last time, Wainwright signed a deal early that gave him financial security but turned into a sweetheart deal for the Cards. Now, he is going to be signing a contract that begins in his age 32 season. He has never been a free agent. Other pitchers in MLB are getting huge deals. It may be his last big chance to cash in. Like I said, if I was his agent, I would play the waiting game and get as much as possible. That doesn’t make anyone a bad guy. It is the model MLB has in place. I get all the talk about home-team discounts and loyalty. I get that Wainwright is truly a nice guy and wants to stay with the Cardinals. But this is business – with the potential to leave millions on the table. Pujols left. Molina stayed. We’ll have to see how it plays out for Wainwright.

              • crdswmn says:

                Sure, but that doesn’t mean that Wainwright is going the way of Pujols. Molina didn’t.

                • Brian Walton says:

                  Right, but the Cards paid a premium price to get Molina to commit. As they say, the devil is in the details. How much money and how many years will it take for both sides to agree? We just don’t know.

                  P.S. Do the Cards have any pitchers coming up who could replace Wainwright? Maybe. Do they have a future Molina in the system? I don’t see one. You have to think about replacement cost, too…

                  • crdswmn says:

                    And they could do the same for Wainwright if they want to keep him. Hey, I get what you are saying, I just don’t see the need just yet to expect the worst. If he hasn’t signed by the end of ST, then I’ll panic.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      Who said anything about panic?

                      Who said anything about the worst?

                      In my opinion, “the worst” is that he leaves as a free agent. All I suggested is that he could decide to test the market. Nothing would stop the Cardinals from being the high bidder, if they so chose.

                      It isn’t like he would be the first player to ever go that route and it wouldn’t make him a villain, IMO.

                      Some Cardinals fans aren’t going to like that, but I am not writing from the perspective of what I think fans want to hear.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      Our polls here last month said four years at $19-20 million per season (barely edging out the $17-$18 million choice) would be the fans’ top offer to Wainwright. Would that be enough?

                    • crdswmn says:

                      Okay Brian I was just talking about myself panicking, not anyone else.

                      If I was looking to hear just what I wanted, I would be posting on a politician’s blog.

                      I’m going to go do something else now.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      I think it was Dustin who tweeted this morning that Twitter needs a politics filter. How true. Baseball people spewing about their politics is out of line, IMO.

              • Bw52 says:

                Wainwright is also got paid while missing a entire season.As did Carpenter .Just a little something to remember……………….I don`t see Wainwright as the type to go where the biggest dollars are for that reason alone.Comfort level has to count for something.Taking over Carps leadership role?
                Who knows ?

              • Brian Walton says:

                From Ken Rosenthal:

                They (the Cardinals) also are unlikely to overpay on an extension for Adam Wainwright, who has one year left on his deal. The Cardinals have a number of talented young starters either in the majors already (Lynn, Kelly, Rosenthal) or coming soon (Miller, Martinez and Wacha). The team does not want to lock up too much money on the rotation long-term.”

                link to video

  16. Bw52 says:

    Didn`t Furcal have to be put on the DL in order for Jackson to be called up today.Isn`t that why Kozma got the call?

    • crdswmn says:

      Yes, but they just put him on the DL to make room for Kozma. I guess they weren’t sure Furcal was going on the DL so they called up Kozma and waited. Now they can’t call Jackson up until the Memphis season is over.

      I don’t get it though because surely they had a pretty good idea they were going to have to put Furcal on the DL. They could have gotten Jackson to DC just as easily as Kozma. Oh well.

      • crdswmn says:

        Of course there is always the possibility that they preferred Kozma over Jackson, though I can’t imagine why. Yuck.

        • Bw52 says:

          Could be Kozma`s last chance to show his stuff.Maybe Cards are not impressed with Jackson bat and want to see if Kozma can do better?

        • crdswmn says:

          Jenifer Langosch says they didn’t call up Jackson because he didn’t get regular at bats while with St. Louis. So they want him to finish the season with Memphis to get into a “regular rhythm and routine”.

          Okay. There are only four games left in the Memphis season. Whatever.

          • Brian Walton says:

            Jackson would get in a regular rhythm and routine playing in St. Louis as well as Memphis. This isn’t a bench job. A major league starter is needed. Go with your best.

            I just made a quick post scratching my head about this one. This is different from Anderson coming up over the better-hitting Hill to sit on the bench as second catcher, IMO.

  17. Bw52 says:

    This whole situation is really weird.

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