If nothing else, Kyle Lohse should be glad, going into the 2013 MLB free agency season, that baseball pundits won't be responsible for paying his salary. So far the St. Louis Cardinals right-hander has made FanGraphs' list of worst free-agency bets and served as MLBTR's uncompelling alternative to the Detroit Tigers' Anibal Sanchez. It's not a flattering start for Lohse, who went 16-3 with a sub-3.00 ERA to price himself out of the Cardinals' plans, and it's easy to see what's doing it.
Lohse is a two-year-contract pitcher who went out and had himself a four-year-contract season in 2012—one that few expect him to repeat, as excellent as it was. The guy who went 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA and a 2.64 K:BB ratio in 2011 would have been a bargain; the guy who went 16-3 with a 3.76 K:BB ratio, one-and-a-half better than his career average, is a 34-year-old wild card.
A wild card FanGraphs' Dave Cameron estimates will get a four year, $52 million deal. Lohse was worth that kind of money last year, but it's hard to project any non-elite pitcher for something like that in his age-37 season—especially since, now that the Cardinals have made a qualifying offer, any contending team that foots the bill for his services will also have to surrender their first-round draft pick.