Excellent points. Certainly argues for a relatively early determination on the Lohse front. If the team continues to flounder and falls double-digits back, they may be able to get some decent leverage in early trade talks. I'd settle for 1 very good prospect in return. Still, I hope they try to engage him in talks about a hometown deal for 3 years. I like Lohse better than most -- good stuff, young, durable. But I'm not optimistic it will happen.If Kyle Lohse can build his trade value high enough the first half of the season, then he could draw interest from several teams. Get enough leverage in a negotiation, especially if a team believes their main division rival is on the other line, then they may be willing to bend and overpay slightly. Obviously Kyle Lohse won't bring in a Homer Bailey or Jay Bruce caliber prospect, but he could bring in one or more prospects who have a legitimate shot at contributing nicely at the major league level.
Now the compensation angle is interesting, but the Reds better beware. Given that the compensation pick standards have recently been toughened and that Lohse's 2006 overall numbers statistically were awful, I'm not sure his free agent classification level could net the Reds a high enough compensation pick that could match the type of return the Reds could acquire in a trade. This past offseason Lohse didn't even qualify as a Type C classification due to his awful 2006 season, and he would have to climb all the way into the top 40 percent to qualify as a Type B player in order to allow the Reds to collect a compensation pick. Unfortunately, Lohse's 2005 season was actually pretty decent, and his 2007 season will effectively replace his 2007 season in terms of his free agent classification.
I hate to say it, but Lohse's 2006 season was so bad that the chances of him climbing up to Type B classification are a bit iffy at this point. If he's not at least a Type B player, then the Reds won't even receive one pick.