ST. LOUIS -- The decision comes as no surprise, but right-hander Kyle Lohse has officially declined the Cardinals' one-year qualifying offer of $13.3 million.
Lohse has already declared for free agency, giving him the opportunity to explore multi-year deals with all interested clubs. With the interest in the right-hander expected to be high, the Cardinals never expected Lohse to accept their one-year offer.
Yet, by making the qualifying offer, the Cardinals assured themselves of an extra Draft pick, which will be no worse than the 32nd overall selection in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
The compensation picks for clubs that lose a player who was made a qualifying offer fall between the first and second rounds of the Draft. Because the Pirates were unable to sign Mark Appel this summer, the first round of the '13 Draft will have 31 selections.
Based on the number of qualifying offers made and declined, eight compensation picks will be handed out. The order of those picks will be determined through a reverse order of the final 2012 standings. Because every other club in the mix finished with a better record than St. Louis, the Cardinals will get the first one of the bunch.
That compensation pick sets up to be the second selection the Cardinals will make in the 2013 Draft. The team also has the 20th overall pick. Both selections could actually end up coming earlier, too, as changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement make it highly likely that the first round of the Draft will end up being condensed.
That's because any club that signs one of the eight free agents who declined a qualifying offer will forfeit its first-round pick. The only exception is if that pick falls in the top 10. In that case, a second-round selection is lost.
This new system was written into last December's Collective Bargaining Agreement. It replaces the previously used format of assigning compensation based on Type A/B free-agent status.
Though the Cardinals are not precluded from continuing to negotiate with Lohse, both sides are amicably ready to move on. Lohse is seeking the stability of a multi-year offer, a commitment that the Cardinals are not willing to make. The Cardinals never opened up dialogue with Lohse regarding a contract extension during the season, even though Lohse noted his willingness to talk.
The Cards' hesitancy to offer Lohse the type of guaranteed money he'll get elsewhere comes from their confidence in how many starting pitchers they already have under contract. The Cardinals will be retaining Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal for at least one more year -- and in some cases, at least six more.
As for Lohse, he's expected to garner widespread interest after a career year. He finished 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in his fifth season in St. Louis.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.