World Series Rangers Giants Baseball

And That Happened: World Series Edition

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Giants 11, Rangers 7: I’m trying to remember a sloppier World Series game, but I’m comin’ up empty. At least if you don’t count the earthquake.

The big story today is obviously Cliff Lee, who saw his postseason ERA climb from 1.26 to 1.96 in the space of a couple hours. Then there are the six errors (Pfun Pfact: none were on Juan Uribe or Edgar Renteria, who actually played some pretty spiffy defense out there, amazingly enough). And the fact that the Giants felt they had to bring in Brian Wilson with a seven run lead. And then there was Juan Uribe’s bomb and Freddy Sanchez’s doubles.  All interesting in their own right.  But the thing that still stuck in my mind as I went to bed last night was Vlad Guerrero in right field. It was ugly and it was sad and I hope we don’t have to see it again.  Give me Murphy, Ron Washington. Hell, even give me Francoeur.  But if I have to see one of my favorite players embarrassing himself out in the field again, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to handle it.

As for the series, I know we live in the age of “Everything That Just Happened Is The Most Important Thing That Has Ever Happened,” but it’s one game. An encouraging one, no question, if you’re the Giants. A punch to the nose, no question, if you’re the Rangers. But it’s a best of seven here. The Rangers were down 0-1 in the ALCS following a somewhat shocking loss.  They didn’t need two Cliff Lee victories in that series either. Still lots of baseball to be played.

Here’s hoping it’s played much, much better by both sides.

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
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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.