Bernie Miklasz has a great column up over at the Post-Dispatch today, analyzing the announcement that Tony La Russa is coming back to the Cardinals next year. More specifically, analyzing the part of the announcement in which it was revealed that bullpen coach Marty Mason was not coming back.
A small detail to outsiders — I almost ignored it completely when I read about it yesterday — but Miklasz explains how that seemingly small move has big implications for the Cardinals. How it plays into what appears to be an ongoing power struggle between the front office on the one hand and La Russa and his coaching staff on the other. Miklasz goes one further by noting how La Russa’s one year + option extension may leave some of his coaches wondering where they fit in the world.
This is all very inside baseball of course, but it’s fascinating inside baseball. Every team has a dynamic like this, and only a select few people are truly aware of it. An even smaller select few of those people are willing to write about it, but Miklasz does here. Cardinals fans are better off for knowing it and the team will be much more interesting to watch because of it.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
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.