Joe Torre, Bud Black conspire to ruin John Lindsey's major league debut

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Recall from Tuesday that John Lindsey was finally called up by the Dodgers after 15 years in the minor leagues. Last night he was poised to make his big league debut against the Padres, but the fates — and a little over-managing — ruined it.

Lindsey didn’t start, but he was sent to pinch hit for Scott Podsednik — facing lefty Joe Thatcher — with one out in the top of the eighth inning. After his name was announced, however, Bud Black replaced Thatcher with righty Luke Gregerson. This caused Joe Torre to call Lindsey back and send up Andre Ethier instead. Ethier promptly hit into an inning-ending double
play. Lindsey ended up with his name in the box score, but no actual game action to show for it.

I suppose you can’t expect Bud Black not to play the matchups there. He’s in a tight pennant race after all. But jeez, he did have a 4-0 lead. Torre has less of an excuse. I mean, everything we’ve seen from the Dodgers over the last week or two suggests that they’ve quit already, so what’s the harm in letting a righty face a righty in that situation?

Oh well, unless Lindsey is hit by a streetcar this morning it won’t much matter, as Torre says that he’ll get a start on Saturday in Houston. Still, what do you think was going through Lindsey’s mind as he prepared to take his first major league pitch, only to here zombie Joe Torre call him back to the dugout?

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)
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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.