McGwire to blame for Holliday's slow start?

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Thumbnail image for holliday_090827.jpgSome have speculated that Matt Holliday’s
relationship with new hitting coach Mark McGwire might be one of the
selling points to keep him in St. Louis. Well, think again.




In an interview with Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, agent Scott Boras attributed Holliday’s early season struggles to swing changes McGwire had made during offseason coaching sessions.



“After five weeks [Holliday] went back to his old stance,” Boras said.
“From that point on, he was the same player he always has been.”




Coincidence or not, Holliday batted
just .226/.282/.383 with four home runs, 20 RBI and a .665 OPS over the
first 28 games of the season with Oakland. He hit .335/.419/.547 with 20 homers, 89
RBI and a .967 OPS from that day forward.




For all the concern about Holliday’s
home/road splits, it’s worth noting that he batted .377/.442/.667 with
nine home runs, 35 RBI and a 1.119 OPS at Busch Stadium, a place that
was one of the toughest stadiums for a right-handed hitter during the 2009 season, according to the newest Bill James Handbook.
Even tougher than Citi Field, a supposed “death valley for right-handed hitters.”




Boras might be using McGwire’s
adjustments as a bit of a scapegoat here, but it’s clear that Holliday
can be a productive hitter just about anywhere.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third 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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.

Braves acquire Luke Jackson from the Rangers

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 16:  Relief pitcher Luke Jackson #53 of the Texas Rangers  throws during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park on September 16, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 14-3. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
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Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.

Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.

Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.

Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.