UPDATE: The Mets are off the hook with the Oliver Perez DL assignment

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Oliver Perez headshot.JPGUPDATE:  Guess not. Andy Martino reports that Major League Baseball is “comfortable” with the Ollie Perez DL stint and has closed its investigation.  Apparently Perez suffered the most conveniently-timed knee injury in baseball history.

I’m inclined to think that teams abuse the DL for roster management purposes all the time. As far as I know, however, no team has ever gotten busted for it.

Oh well. Stay tuned for Ollie suddenly coming down with a terrible case of Badcontracism sometime soon, necessitating his move to the 60-day DL.

1:17 P.M.: As was reported over the weekend, eyebrows were raised when the Mets put Oliver Perez on the disabled list after a couple of weeks of trying to get him to accept a minor league assignment and at the exact moment his roster slot was needed for Jon Niese’s callup.  We learned on Saturday that MLB was reviewing it, but MLB reviews all roster moves so no biggie, right?

Maybe not.  Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog reports that he has heard from two MLB sources who characterize this as “a serious
investigation,” and that there’s a chance the transaction
gets reversed.

I don’t know what reversing the roster move would really entail. Certainly it would mean the Mets have to place Perez back on the roster and make a corresponding roster move to make room.  It’s doubtful that anything happens as a result of Niese getting  a start that was later adjudged to have been occasioned by an illegal roster move.  We’re probably talking a fine or something.

I’d have to think that if the move was found to be wrongful that the Mets would simply have to DFA Perez, right? I mean how can you keep a guy that you hate so much that you’d cheat the system to be rid of?

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getty Images
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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.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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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.