* Some tidbits about Josh Geer’s homer-allowing binge:
He’s allowed at least one homer in 16 of 17 starts. He’s served up 27
homers in 102.2 innings, which works out to a rate of 2.4 homers per
nine innings that ranks as the fourth-highest in baseball history among pitchers with at least 100 innings.
For comparison, Mariano Rivera has allowed a grand total of 58 homers
in 1,066.1 career innings. Wait, there’s more. Take him away from
power-suppressing Petco Park and Geer has allowed an astounding 16
homers in 43 innings. He’s been invited to serve as “all-time pitcher”
for next year’s Home Run Debry. OK, I made that last one up.
* Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reports
that Fausto Carmona will make at least one more start at Triple-A
before rejoining the Indians. Demoted all the way to rookie-ball on
June 5, Carmona has worked his way back up to Triple-A by posting a
2.72 ERA and 39/7 K/BB ratio in seven minor-league starts between three
* Pitching coach Rick Knapp gave the Tigers a scare
Sunday night when he passed out and briefly lost consciousness on the
team plane. An emergency landing and trip to the hospital followed, but
Knapp was released after a brief stay and was back at work yesterday.
* As a follow-up to my entry yesterday about Luke Hochevar’s back-to-back impressive starts putting him in some exclusive company, Clark Fosler of Royals Authority examines why Hochevar is suddenly pitching so well. The short answer? More sliders.
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.
The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.
St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.
The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.
Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?
Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.