Pirates team President Frank Coonelly sat down for his monthly web chat earlier today, and was asked by a reader how it felt to run “the losingest team in baseball.” His response:
Given that we have many young readers of this chat, I will keep my
answer G-rated: It stinks. It’s embarrassing, painful and incredibly
aggravating. I never expected us to sit with just 44 wins on Sept. 1,
2010. We have more talent than that, and I expect us to play much better
during this final month.
Nothin’ personal against Coonelly, but I am going to guess that you could count the number of “young readers” surfing over to a Frank Coonelly live chat on one hand and still have enough fingers left over to pick your nose and pound out the opening drum riff to “Wipe Out” by the Surfaris on the desk at the same time.
Well, maybe I’m wrong. I mean, I still remember the days of my youth, when my brother and I used to camp outside of Jim Campbell’s house in Grosse Pointe, hoping to catch a glimpse of him — maybe snag an autograph — and, perchance, to hear him hold forth on what the future held for the Tigers.
Those executives are why we all fell in love with the game, I imagine.
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.