Someone else tell me if this is bizarre:
- On Sunday, a story appears on Philly.com — Internet home of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News — reporting that Cliff Lee has a muscle strain;
- In the next 12 hours, the Internet picks up the story, people start blogging about it, tweeting about it, etc. Philly.com/The Inquirer is proud of this story, and understandably gets annoyed when they’re not immediately credited for it.*
- The next day, it is revealed that the story is non-story. Cliff Lee is fine. The muscle strain was a thing of the past, not the present, and his spring training program will go on, uninterrupted.
- The day after that, a writer on Philly.com tut-tuts us all for believing everything we read on the Internet and uses it all as a cautionary tale about the Internet, blogging, Facebook and Twitter.
- Oh, and Philly.com has since removed the initial report about Cliff Lee. Or at least moved it. I can’t find it anywhere on their site. (UPDATE: here it is. New URL).
Look folks, this isn’t hard: The Internet has changed the game a bit, but the game isn’t unrecognizable: report what you think is true, and yes, feel free to report it quickly if you feel it necessary. This is baseball after all, not national security. If the story turns out to be wrong or different or whatever, correct it. But do so in a transparent manner. Don’t delete your earlier, erroneous or misleading report and pretend that you’ve been right all along because to do so misleads readers who have an even tougher task today than they ever have had in judging a source’s credibility.
Likewise, bloggers: credit and link those who do the actual reporting and don’t block quote too much.
And newspaper people: think hard about writing that “beware of the blogs and social media” column. It’s a tired topic even if it’s right, but it’s downright galling if the primary example you use is one of the newspapers’ doing in the first place.
*That tweet, BTW, was in reference to HBT’s own initial post on the Lee thing which had ommitted the link and reference to the Inquirer at first. We fixed that as soon as it was brought to our attention and apologized to the Inquirer for the error. We’re not above any of the rules of the Internet and, no, we’re not perfect either.
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.