TIMEKILLER Q&A

Where do you think Lohse will end up and how long of a deal do you think he gets?  –JP

I wish I could answer in full, but the fact of the matter is that it’s impossible for us to make an educated guess.

In the new CBA, teams can choose to offer a free agent a qualifying offer (one year for the value of the average salaries of the top 125 player salaries, which this year is $13.3 million).  If the player declines like Kyle Lohse did, he becomes a free agent and the Cards get a first round draft pick.

However, if a team decides to sign Lohse or any free agent who turned down a qualifying offer, they lose a first round draft pick.  Most teams don’t think it’s worth the risk since the CBA also distorted how much money they can use in the draft, which is why there have been almost no rumors as to the landing places of elite players like Lohse, Michael Bourn and Rafael Soriano.

Boston and Los Angeles were once rumored landing spots, but both have since signed Ryan Dempster and Zack Greinke respectively.

Because of the draft pick issue, I don’t think Lohse is going to get what he deserves.  (A big “oops” by the Players’ Union.)  He’s much better than this offseason’s top earners Dempster, Edwin Jackson and Anibal Sanchez, who averaged four years, $52.8 million.  In a perfect world, he gets paid more than all of them, but the cost of a first round pick will be deducted from his salary by any team willing to go after him.

A final note: he apparently turned down Boston because he wanted more than three years.  So obviously he thought–at least back then–that he could still get his money’s worth this offseason.

All that said, I would guess Texas for four years and over $50 million.  But a guess is all I can do.

How much could the Cardinals get in a TV deal? –SB

The big misconception about TV money is that it’s based on ratings, which makes some people think that the Cards should get a multi-billion dollar TV contract since everyone in St. Louis watches their games.

However, the amount of money you get is based on the number of cable subscribers in your market, regardless of how many people actually use their cable to watch baseball.  St. Louis has a population of just 2.8 million, so obviously their number of subscribers will pale in comparison to the number of subscribers in Los Angeles (12.8 million).

With that cleared up, the Major League city closest to St. Louis’ is San Diego (three million people).  They’re pulling in $1.2 billion over 20 years, which amounts to sixty million every year.  In other words, enough to have been able to retain Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright and another elite player if they so chose.

At last check, the team was negotiating a new deal with FSN, which now is giving them a measly payout of $3 million a year.  Hopefully they can get something similar to what the Padres have.  But they need to do it fast since each of these deals inflates the cost of cable subscriptions; a proverbial glass ceiling on how many of these massive deals can be had.

So will Matt Carpenter play second base or will be stuck with light hitting Danny D.? –MM

Looks like we’re stuck with Daniel Descalso, pending a highly unlikely acquisition between now and spring training.

Descalso will almost certainly get the starting job.  If the Cardinals were so desperate that they were willing to significantly overpay for 37-year-ol Marco Scutaro, that tells me that Carpenter’s transition to second is not going well.

Is Jason Motte‘s career sustainable? –TJ

Towards the end of the season, I put the over/under at his career collapse at a season and a half.  The heavy dependence on the fastball scares me a lot.  He’s 30 so maybe he’s got more than a season and a half left in the tank, but like nearly every closer, he’s a timebomb waiting to go off.

Thoughts on TJ Quinn’s Hall of Fame article? –BH

If I were voting, I would vote in the guys who were clearly better than everyone else, even in the Steroid Era.  Just because Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens makes it into the Hall does not mean that their reputation will go away or that their numbers will be seen as any more legitimate.

However, if you don’t want to go that route, go through Quinn’s.  His was the best take on Hall of Fame voting I’ve ever read from a voter.

When the ref strike ended in football this year, a number of people were complaining about ESPN only citing “source” for the information because it wasn’t one of their guys.  Where do you stand on information sharing without referencing the original source? –TJ

Not that I usually trust the journalistic integrity of ESPN farther than I can throw it, but the guys reporting that kind of insider news are for the most part pros.  Sometimes to get information, you have to swear to your source that they won’t be incriminated.  I’m confident that’s what’s going on, especially since there’s no incentive to just make something up.  (Just the risk of damaging your own credibility.)

I’m cool with them doing it, but I would call for a terminology change.  My beef comes when they rip something off from a non-ESPN reporter and attribute it to “sources.”  This implies that those sources are ESPN‘s rather than those of someone from FOX or CBS or Sports Illustrated.  That’s dishonest, and it strikes me as bizarre that an organization with an unfortunate near-monopoly on the sports news industry is so afraid to acknowledge that outside outlets even exist.

If you had to pick a non-Cardinals market for whom to write, which would be your first choices? –TJ

To be honest, now that I’ve got a good idea of how the Cards do things (this, for instance), I don’t know if I would even want to cover them on a beat.

San Diego is where I’d most like to go.  Great weather all year, decent-sized town, my absolute favorite ballpark and an up-and-coming team I really like now before their top prospects are even up.

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