That is the question.
There’s no point in talking about Kyle Lohse’s statistics here because we all know that he’s a good pitcher, and potentially better than 4/5 of the St Louis starting 5. So we’ll just leave stats out of this one.
I will start out by saying that I would only take Lohse back in St Louis if he were willing to sign a one year deal for under 10 million and without no-trade protection. And here’s why:
A lot of players come and go in baseball. It’s part of the business. However, St Louis is one of those special places to play that almost all players who come here gush about–especially if they’ve been forced to play in a bad baseball market (i.e. Florida). You saw it with Punto and DeRosa and Berkman and just about anyone you might name–they all say things like “Wow, it’s pretty fun to play in a packed house every night with great fans and to be competing for and in the playoffs.” We (the cardinal fans) think that St Louis is a pretty special place to play. We love our team. And yes, I said it. Our team. Suck on it.
I have never heard Kyle Lohse gush in this way about St Louis. He came here because we were the only ones who would take him in 2008 (not unlike now). He stayed because we paid him drastically over market value for 2009-2012. But I’ve never heard him talk about how much he loves St Louis like Waino does, like Yadi does, like Pujols did, like Carpenter does, like Skip did. Strike one.
Last year, Lohse didn’t seem to get a lot of run support during his starts. This happens from time to time. What did he do? He complained. He griped about the lack of run support–not loudly, mind you. Quietly. But enough that we read about it in the papers. How do you think that made his teammates feel? There doesn’t seem to be any love lost between him and the organization. Strike 2.
He had one foot out the door all of last season. This is a guy who had one thing in mind: get paid. And I’m not saying that he didn’t do his job. He did. And he did it well. But Lohse was ready to be gone all last year. He didn’t gripe about run support because he wanted to win those games for St Louis. He griped because he knew that it made his final Win total less and he wouldn’t get paid as much in the offseason. Strike 3.
Some guys play for the love of the game, or for the city, or for the money. This guy is the latter. Well now life didn’t turn out the way you thought, Kyle Lohse. And you want to come back here and get paid? Nope. There’s no question that Kyle is a better SP this year than Shelby Miller (note that I said this year). But when Kyle walked away the way he did, I don’t think Mo wants to bring his noise back into the clubhouse just so he can turn around and leave again. No thanks. I’ll take the kids.