Link-O-Rama: Taveras on the verge of history

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* Not only is Willy Taveras hitless in his last 32 at-bats
while misguidedly playing through a hamstring injury, he’s failed to
reach base at all in eight straight games in which he’s had at least
two plate appearances.

Steve Balboni, Dan Meyer, and Rob Picciolo are tied for the most
since 1954 with nine such games in a row, so after getting yesterday
off Taveras is one more bad game away from joining their exclusive
club. Good luck, Willy!

* Randy Johnson picked up career win No. 301
over the weekend and is now five victories from passing Tom Glavine for
21st place on the all-time list. Since back-to-back rough outings to
begin the season Johnson is 6-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 11 starts, which
gives him a chance to pass Glavine (305), Mickey Welch (307), Charley
Radbourn (309), and perhaps even Tom Seaver (311) with a strong second
half.

* According to the Miami Herald,
last month “the Marlins rejected Atlanta’s offer of outfielder Jeff
Francoeur for Cody Ross.” Ross is nothing special as a player, but his
.263/.317/.486 line since the beginning of last season makes him about
20 percent more productive than Francoeuer (.242/.291/.355) during that
same span and he’s making $1 million less.

* Since coming off the disabled list last month with a new pair of shades, Brian McCann has hit .377 with a 13/15 K/BB ratio in 32 games.

* Gaby Sanchez has started to play third base again at Triple-A just in case the Marlins finally decide to bench Emilio Bonifacio.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.