The High Price of Being Cheap

Kris Benson's long road back from injury took a detour today, as the veteran right-hander missed a scheduled start with an unspecified ailment he self-diagnosed as biceps tendinitis. Meanwhile, Kyle Lohse slips on his Cardinals uniform after signing a one-year deal with St. Louis for a bit over $4 million plus incentives. ESPN analyst Keith Law praises the Cards for the move:

Kyle Lohse's one-year contract with St. Louis is well below his early-offseason demands, but Lohse has posted league-average ERAs in two hitters' parks since coming over to the NL in the middle of 2006. He's always been a guy with better stuff than his results would indicate, but moving to a neutral park and to a team with several plus up-the-middle defenders (Cesar Izturis, Yadier Molina and perhaps Colby Rasmus) should all help him perform better than that. One year and $4.25 million for 180-200 innings of league-average or better pitching is an unbelievable bargain, and another feather in the cap of new Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, who's done a nice job in a difficult situation and avoided long-term commitments in a bad pitching market this winter.

Over at BackSheGoes.com, TGP poster MattS suggests that the Phillies were "afraid of having 6 starters." I think this is correct, with the slight modification that their real fear was "paying for six starters." Once they made their deal for Benson, the door closed on a Lohse return.

The problem is that Lohse projects for about 2.5 Wins Above Replacement Player (see here for the definition of WARP) in 2008, according to Baseball Prospectus; by comparison, Adam Eaton comes in at 1.7 (and BP is more optimistic about him than anyone else), Travis Blackley is under 1, Chad Durbin a bit over 1, and Benson himself at 0.6.

But at least the owners won't be out that $4 million and change for the ingrate Lohse. They sure showed him.

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