Carlos Delgado has undergone three hip surgeries since his last major league at-bat on May 9, 2009, but he’s not about to give up now. In fact, he told Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun that he hopes to sign with a team in time to get some at-bats during spring training.
“I’d like to play but I’m not hitting, yet,” said Delgado, adding that he is five pounds under his playing weight.
“I just started running last week in San Juan. It’s tough to ask teams to come look at me. The first question they’ll ask is: ‘When can we see you hit?’ I don’t have an answer yet. Hopefully, it won’t be much longer.”
Of course, Delgado’s most recent comeback attempt didn’t last very long. He signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox last August and appeared in just five games with Triple-A Pawtucket before his left hip began to bother him. The 38-year-old slugger eventually underwent surgery in September.
Delgado is currently sitting on 473 career home runs and still hopes to become the first Puerto Rican to reach the 500-home run plateau. It’s hard to blame the guy for trying, but the odds are squarely against him at this point. He doesn’t have the durability to play first base on a regular basis anymore and there are already a wealth of DH options available in free agency. Barring something completely unexpected, he looks like a guy destined for the Hall of Very Good.
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.