As the foremost Twins dude on the Internets I defer to Aaron’s take on the Mauer deal. But others have weighed in too. Let’s take a look-see:
- J.C. Bradbury: “I worry that the Twins may have stretched a bit here with this long-term
commitment . . . But the Twins are one of the best-managed organizations in baseball, so I
think they deserve the benefit of the doubt.”
- Matthew Carruth, FanGraphs: “In the short term, this deal is fair to both sides. Where it might get
dicey is down the line when Mauer reaches his mid-30s. I don’t think him
staying at catcher is needed for this to work out though. Mauer’s bat
is good enough to stand a move to first base and he would benefit from a
likely increase in playing time. My concern is simply that for being on
the hook for eight years and giving him a full no trade clause, I feel
the Twins should have gotten a bit more of a discount.”
- SethSpeaks: “Yes, this deal
is more than just about baseball, but from a purely baseball aspect,
a great deal.”
- Twinkie Town: “I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am about this. Right now, this looks
like a fantastic deal for both sides. It’s a very fair deal,
particularly when you expect baseball’s financial market to rebound in
coming seasons. As long as Joe stays healthy, that is.”
- Only Baseball Matters: “That’s how you handle a once-in-a-generation talent. Teams that are
run by real general managers, and owned by real men who know what the
hell they are doing, understand this.”
- TYU: “Yankee fans who were planning on acquiring him to replace Jorge Posada
will have to look elsewhere.”
- Mark Steyn: “more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the
Pax Americana, and global Armageddon.”
That last one was about health care reform, not Mauer specifically. I include it, though, because what with the global Armageddon and all, it’s not like the Twins will really have to worry about the back end of the Mauer contract. Total win-win for Minnesota, really.
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.