There’s no discussion there, but Phil Rogers throws out Dusty Baker, Eric Wedge, Jim Riggleman, Cecil Cooper and Dave Trembley as managers who may be looking for a job soon. Setting aside the glaring omission of Trey Hillman, here are my insta-takes:
I’m not a huge Baker fan, but there’s a lot more wrong with the Reds than him, so the Reds may as well keep him around since they’ll have to pay him anyway;
Eric Wedge should go. He’s had a long time to do something in Cleveland and they could use a fresh start;
Riggleman has done good work, but the Nats need to enter the Strasburg-era with someone a little more dynamic at the helm;
Cooper was thrown under the bus by his team’s ace starter and team leader, so he’s a dead man walking already; and
Trembley has been a good company man, but he has lost so much for so long with the Orioles, that one wonders if he can be the guy to take a team with a bright future to the next level. It just strikes me that, when a team is about to turn the corner, you don’t want a guy who is a constant reminder of all of those years in the wilderness, ya know?
As happens every year, I’m sure one of these obvious suspects will somehow hang on, and some guys we never thought would get fired. And as is the case with their decisions as managers, we will be right here to second guess and armchair GM their firings as well.
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.