ST. LOUIS (AP) — Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak says it’s unlikely the team can re-sign 16-game winner Kyle Lohse and doesn’t see a spot for Lance Berkman even in a reduced role.
Lohse led the majors in winning percentage, going 16-3, and was among the league leaders with a 2.79 ERA. The Cardinals appear to have a full rotation plus young prospects such as Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal.
“I suspect the free agent market is going to treat him very kindly,” Mozeliak said Thursday. “And when you see the depth that we have coming, it’s not something I’m prepared to rule out today, but I would say it’s probably unlikely at this time.”
The 36-year-old Berkman hasn’t decided whether he’ll retire after playing in just 32 games and totaling 81 at-bats while slowed by knee trouble. He hit .259 with two homers and seven RBIs. In 2011, Berkman was NL comeback player of the year when he hit .301 with 31 homers and 94 RBIs.
Earlier in the postseason, Berkman said he’d probably decide whether he’ll try to keep playing in a month or two, depending on interest from other teams but joked he didn’t want to keep playing “for $500,000 with Seattle.” Mozeliak said the two have not spoken about the future.
“It’s hard to imagine us finding a fit for him here,” Mozeliak said. “I don’t know what his expectations are, what he envisions his role being, but clearly getting every-day at-bats for the St. Louis Cardinals would be very remote.”
The defending champions ended up one victory shy of a repeat trip to the World Series, squandering a 3-1 lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL championship series.
One person who is definitely gone is bullpen coach Dyar Miller. Mozeliak said Miller was surprised when informed he would not be kept and added he wasn’t certain whether Miller would be reassigned to the minors where he’s been a long-time presence.
Mozeliak said manager Mike Matheny had input on the coaching change, as he will on the replacement. Both hope the new coach will come from inside the organization. Mozeliak said the staff was assembled quickly in mid-November last fall after Matheny was hired as Tony La Russa’s successor.
“I think when we look at this long term, we definitely want to have Mike be able to put some of his fingerprints on this,” Mozeliak said.
Matheny said he wanted the rest of his staff back but hadn’t spoken in depth with any of his coaches since losing Game 7 on Monday night.