The Voice of the Yankees retires

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Bob Sheppard hasn’t announced games at Yankee Stadium since 2007, but he had not made his retirement official until today:

Bob Sheppard served more than 50 seasons as the “Voice of Yankee
Stadium,” his clear, concise and correct style proudly providing the
soundtracks of summer for Yankees players from Joe DiMaggio to Derek
Jeter.

One month after celebrating his 99th birthday by watching the
Yankees inch closer to their 27th World Series championship — the
first Fall Classic he missed in the Bronx since 1951 — Sheppard has
decided it is time to officially step down as the club’s public address
announcer.

“I have no plans of coming back,” Sheppard said on Wednesday in
a telephone interview. “Time has passed me by, I think. I had a good
run for it. I enjoyed doing what I did. I don’t think, at my age, I’m
going to suddenly regain the stamina that is really needed if you do
the job and do it well.”

Most people retire when they’re over 30 years younger than Sheppard, so he has more than put in his fair share of work.  Still, he will be missed by Yankees fans and anyone else who fell in love with baseball back when a day at the ballpark was a simple and straightforward affair. No dot races, no rock music pumped in before every at bat and no other sorts of nonsense.  Just the sun, some light organ music and the sounds of the game, chief among them the dulcet tones of a true pro like Sheppard.

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.