Jeter and the Yanks: together forever, no matter what anyone says

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Even when things are going perfectly in the Bronx, someone has to inject some kind of negativity:

As vital as Jeter has been to the organization since becoming the
starter in 1996, the Yankees soon must decide how much he is worth to
them. Jeter’s 10-year, $189 million contract expires after the 2010
season, but the Yankees have not formally approached him about an
extension. “I haven’t even thought about it,” Jeter said . . . “It’s 2009,” Jeter said. “It’s not 2010.” Then Jeter paused before adding, “Or 2011.” By mentioning 2011, Jeter was seemingly intimating that he just needs to know where he is playing before then.

Or just acknowledging that he is under contract for 2010 and wanted to be accurate.

Look, there is zero chance that the Yankees aren’t going to get something done with Jeter that ensures he will end his career in pinstripes.  I’d wager my kids on this.  Sure, the Yankees will overpay somewhat for the production they’re likely to receive. Sure, they’ll still have the problem of where to play Jeter as he reaches the end and can’t really handle shortstop anymore, but the chances of ever seeing him in another uniform are nil, because it’s in absolutely no one’s interest for him to walk, and everyone involved knows that.

I know it can get boring writing “everything going wonderfully in Yankee-land!” stories, but suggesting that there is some kind of contract issue on the horizon for Jeter and the Yankees just isn’t credible, even as muckraking fodder.

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.