Cards make Lohse a qualifying offer
The Cardinals have made free agent Kyle Lohse a qualifying offer – a one-year deal worth $13.3 million – in order to guarantee that the organization receives an extra Draft pick should Lohse sign somewhere else this offseason.
Lohse, of course, also has the prerogative to accept the one-year deal, which would be binding. That decision must be made within the next seven days. Lohse is, however, expected to pass on the offer, which would allow him to explore multi-year deals with other interested clubs.
This implementation of qualifying offers is a new wrinkle to the offseason. It was created in the Collective Bargaining Agreement last December and replaces the Type A/B free agent compensation system. In this system, clubs can decide whether to make a qualifying offer to any free agent who spent the full season on that team.
The value of that one-year offer is determined by averaging the top 125 individual salaries from the recently-completed season. For 2012, that average is $13.3 million.
By making a qualifying offer, a club is guaranteed a compensation-round Draft pick – that pick would come between the first and second rounds of the Draft – if a player rejects the offer and signs with another club.
The Cardinals have two departing free agents – Lohse and Lance Berkman. Berkman was not extended a qualifying offer, as the Cards were not willing to take a chance that the veteran first baseman would accept the guaranteed money. As a result, if Berkman signs elsewhere — as he is expected to do if he does not retire — the Cardinals will not pick up an extra Draft selection.
Lohse, who is coming off a season in which he went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 33 starts, is expected to receive widespread interest in free agency. He is eyeing a multi-year contract and said toward the end of the season that family considerations will play a role in helping him determine what organization provides the best fit.
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