But it’s not the kind of history you normally want. As the Dodgers snapped the Braves nine-game winning streak on Friday night, Jason Heyward was 0-for-5 while tying a record for a nine-inning game with five strikeouts.
We’re all familiar with the “golden sombrero,” but it’s not often that
we get to pull out the “platinum sombrero,” or my personal favorite, “The
Olympic Rings.” According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it has been done 54 other times in major league history and as recently as June 4, 2009 by Alex Rios. Heyward struck out four times against starter Clayton Kershaw and once against closer Jonathan Broxton.
Bobby Cox’s reaction to the event, according to O’Brien: “Whatever.”
It’s a momentary distraction from what otherwise has been a fantastic debut for the 20-year-old. Even with a recent 1-for-19 funk at the plate, Heyward is currently batting .274 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI. He currently ranks fourth in the National League with a .402 on-base percentage and .939 OPS. Sure, he has struck out in 24 percent of his at-bats, but you’ll sign up for a 42/33 K/BB ratio from a 20-year-old rookie anytime you can get it.
By the way, another piece of history, Kenshin Kawakami is now the first Braves pitcher to start a season 0-8 since Rosy Ryan of the 1926 Boston Braves. He hasn’t won a game since last August 31. It’s time to wonder if Kris Medlen has a chance to stick in the rotation once Jair Jurrjens returns from the disabled list later this month.
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.