Via Bob Nightengale -
He wakes up every morning in his palatial home, with spring-training baseball games going on all around him, but has no place to go.
He has no job. No impending contract. No team.
Kyle Lohse, with the 2013 season opening on March 31, remains standing in baseball’s unemployment line.
Lohse could step from his 8,700-square foot dwelling onto any baseball field in the Valley and immediately be better than virtually any pitcher that’s appeared in the Cactus League this spring.
Instead, he will open his car Friday morning, stuff his baseball equipment bag in the trunk, and drive 20 minutes to a local community college. He’s scheduled to throw 90 pitches in a simulated game against a group of teenagers. There will be no fanfare, let alone a fan, in sight.
“I’m in an awkward spot,” Lohse tells USA TODAY Sports, in what may be the greatest understatement of the spring.
Lohse, 34, is coming off the greatest season of his career, dominating the National League Central for the second consecutive year. He went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA, and had the Cardinals within one game of the World Series. He finished seventh in the National League Cy Young balloting.
Yet, with only 10 days before opening day, as he mixes in workouts at state-of-the-art Fischer Sports and his golf game at private and picturesque Whisper Rock, he’s still awaiting a phone call telling him he has a job.
Agent Scott Boras, just as he has the last five months, tells Lohse to be patient. He says Lohse will still get paid handsomely. Teams will panic once they realize their young pitchers can’t cut it, Boras predicts.
“I don’t understand why people think his value will drop,” Boras says. “His value only rises because there’s a greater need now. The demand for him is created by attrition when teams learn that their younger pitching can’t meet their need.
“We’ve got plenty of teams interested.”
Lohse, and Boras, still probably want something around two years and $26 million at this stage. But, for what it’s worth, last year was a fluke. And, at best, Lohse is just a league average pitcher. Think “Jason Marquis.” So, if it were me, I’m talking one year at $10 million, and, if he doesn’t want it, then he can continue to stay home and work on his golf game.