Why the Dodgers' mystic energy man matters

20 Comments

Rasputin.gifI got an email a few minutes ago that reflects a sentiment I’ve seen numerous times since the Dodgers’ Svengali story came out last night:

Do you ever write anything positive about
the
Dodgers? That’s the first place Dodgers. They are currently getting
terrific
pitching and playing solid baseball. I believe they have the best record
in
baseball for the past month and just swept the Cards. You are missing
some fun
baseball.

I get it: don’t beat up on the McCourts because the Dodgers have played good baseball for a couple of years. What’s a couple hundred thousand dollars to a quack if the team is winning?

I suppose that’s fair, but only to a point. And the point is this: the Dodgers have totally out-sized revenue streams compared to their divisional rivals in San Francisco, San Diego, Colorado and Arizona.  Imagine how big their lead would be — year-in, year-out — if those resources were channeled into smart baseball decisions instead of energy-channeling physicists and the never ending parade of extravagance we’ve heard about since the McCourt divorce kicked off.

The Dodgers do OK. But if the McCourts wanted to focus on running a tight baseball ship instead of entertaining fantasies of NFL stadiums in the parking lot, buying soccer teams and pursing whatever whim their copious amounts of money and apparent lack of sense sets them upon, they could be the West Coast Yankees, dominating the division. 

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
5 Comments

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
7 Comments

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.