A Cliff Lee-to-the-Mets deal gets complicated

5 Comments

UPDATE: Joel Sherman contradicts the Burkhardt report, saying that the Mets will not require a negotiating window with Lee if Mejia is involved in a deal.

9:07 A.M.: I said last week that I think the Mets are the frontrunners for Cliff Lee because (a) they have a top young pitcher they are willing to trade in Jenrry Mejia; and (b) they said that they wouldn’t require a window to negotiate a contract extension with Cliff Lee before trading for him.  Now all of that seems to be complicated.

For one thing Mejia left his start for Double-A Binghamton yesterday because of an injury. “Shoulder stiffness” is what we’re hearing now.  No other details yet and it’s entirely possible that it turns out to be nothing, but when you’re trying to trade a guy as a top prospect, the last thing you want is an injury.

The other complicating factor is that, according to Kevin Burkhardt, the Mets would in fact require a negotiating window with Lee if the player to be traded for him is, in fact, Mejia.

Other outlets are calling the Twins the frontrunners for Lee right now. It’s hard to truly handicap that in the absence of something credible regarding who Minnesota might be willing to offer for Lee and I haven’t seen anything like that yet.  But if Mejia is hurt, and if the Mets are going to be more cautious about dealing him to begin with, I can’t really see any reason to stick with them as the frontrunners either.

And now that I put it like that, it’s almost as if all of this talk about the big fish at the trade deadline is, you know, speculation and stuff.  And we’ve never ever had that happen before . . .

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
Leave a comment

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
6 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.