For many fans, the beginning of the baseball season starts in early-February, when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. Ten days ago, the likes of David Price, Justin Verlander, and even Greg Burke took the mound in sunny Florida and Arizona for their respective organizations. Yet even though all Major League pitchers are picking up baseballs and getting their arms in working order, Kyle Lohse will not be one of them. Lohse, who is coming off a terrific 2012 campaign, where he hurled a career-best 134 ERA+ and 3.76 K/BB over 211 IP, still remains a free-agent.
The 34 year-old’s status is hardly surprising, however. Due to the new qualifying offer agreement, which entitles organizations to extend one-year, $13.3MM (based off the top 125 player’s average salaries) retention offers or subsequent draft pick compensation if the player rejects the deal, it has deterred suitors from signing Lohse. The pitcher, who presumably had been seeking a multi-year contract, declined the St. Louis Cardinals’ qualifying offer, and has since been patiently sitting on the free-agent market. Continue reading