I promise I’ll get off this Cy Young Award voting thing soon, but I had one more thought. Or rather, Dan Levy over at Press Coverage had one more thought, and it’s a good one.
While so many baseball arguments tend to break down into a stats vs. scouts, sabermetrics vs. my-own-damn-eyes debate, the AL Cy Young award should not be one of them. VORP and WAR have been thrown around a bit in the whole Felix Hernandez vs. The World debate, but it’s hardly necessary.
Why? Because the things that separate the candidates — innings pitched, strikeouts, wins, run support — aren’t sabermetric concepts. They’re things that have been a part of baseball — a discussed part of baseball — since they wrote the damn rules down and started playing the game. The difference in opinion is simply an application of differing values and common sense. That doesn’t mean that each opinion is as good as the next — an informed opinion beats an ill-informed one every time — but it does mean that you should probably ignore anyone who couches the argument in terms of “Moneyball” or “stat geeks” or “crusty old sportswriters” or whatever, because that’s all kind of beside the point.
For my part, it doesn’t take much math to think Felix Hernandez is the Cy Young winner. Those who disagree likewise shouldn’t need to appeal to their experience or authority (or other stats like wins as if they’re the be-all, end-all) and think it ends the debate. This is really a straightforward baseball and horse sense kind of thing in my mind.
Anyway, check out Dan’s piece. He covers this pretty well, I think.
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.