St. Louis Cardinals: Why Redbirds Must Re-Sign Kyle Lohse

Adam SpencerCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2012

DENVER, CO - JULY 31:  Starting pitcher Kyle Lohse #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers to home plate during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 31, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Kyle Lohse has been a mainstay in the St. Louis Cardinals pitching rotation since he came to the team before the 2008 season.

In his career with the Redbirds, Lohse has compiled a 51-34 record with a 3.98 ERA and 450 strikeouts.

He has been one of former pitching coach Dave Duncan’s biggest success stories, turning his career around while wearing the Cardinal red.

During his years with the Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies, Lohse had a career ERA of over 4.50.

Coming to St. Louis has had a positive impact on his career, and the Cardinals have also benefited from his excellent play.

He’s currently 12-2 on the year, with an impressive 2.79 ERA. He’s been the ace of the Cardinals' staff this season with Chris Carpenter’s injury and Adam Wainwright’s inconsistency following Tommy John surgery.

He’s on pace to set a new career high in wins, breaking his current mark of 15, set with the Cardinals in 2008.

If not for Lohse, the Cardinals wouldn’t be within striking distance of an NL Wild Card spot and would probably be behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the standings.

Lohse has been a key part of the Redbirds’ success this season and whether or not St. Louis makes the playoffs this year probably depends on his right arm.

But, his contract is up after this year, and he might prove to be too expensive for the Cardinals to keep.

He’s finishing up the four-year, $41 million contract he signed back in 2009, and the 33-year-old hurler will probably want somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 million in his next deal. He is, after all, represented by the notorious Scott Boras.

With long-term commitments to Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright and others, the Cardinals can’t afford to give Lohse a massive deal.

If he won’t settle for a fair contract, he’ll probably have to sign elsewhere for the 2013 season.

There’s a good chance a team with deep pockets like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox or Chicago Cubs will make Lohse a huge offer. Then, it will be up to Lohse to decide if he wants to accept a slight discount to stay in St. Louis.

If he decides to give the Cardinals a better deal than other teams, general manager John Mozeliak would be wise to lock him up for the next four or five years.