Giambi is healthy, but do the A's want him back?

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Mychael Urban of MLB.com is one of my favorite beat reporters because he writes stuff like this about the A’s not activating a healthy Jason Giambi from the disabled list.
Sensing the frustration of my various colleagues who’ve been trying to get to the bottom of this whole Jason Giambi thing, I finally just came out with the question everyone wants the answer to. Point-blank, I asked Bob Geren: Will Jason be on the active roster again this year?
If the answer is yes, you say yes, right? Of course you do. That’s easy. If the answer is no, but you don’t want to admit it, you hem and haw and haw and hem. Suffice to say Geren’s answer was not yes. It was: “Promising anything in this game if difficult to do.” Draw your own conclusions.

Oakland is in last place at 47-60. Giambi is 38 years old and hit .193 with a career-worst .697 OPS through 83 games before going on the DL. There’s no real reason for the A’s to keep him around at this point, but he’s making $4 million this season, has a $6.5 million option or $1.25 million buyout for 2010, and was a superstar in Oakland at the beginning of the decade, so the situation is somewhat complicated.
Perhaps the A’s will try to keep him on the shelf for as long as possible while taking a look at minor-league veteran Tommy Everidge at first base and then give Giambi some September starts as a nice sendoff once rosters expand? Whatever the case, as Urban’s little chat with the manager shows Giambi is ready to play again and the A’s are trying to avoid making a decision on his roster status.

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.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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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.