Now that the signing is official Marc Craig of the Newark Star Ledger has the details of Kevin Millwood’s minor-league contract with the Yankees.
Millwood can opt out of the deal if he’s not in the majors by May 1. If he does get added to the roster his base salary will be $1.5 million and then he can earn an additional $3.5 million in incentives, with $500,000 each for 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 starts and $1 million for 30 starts.
He has about as much chance of making 30 starts for the Yankees this season as I do, but there’s a decent chance he’ll join the rotation at some point in the next month and would probably be given at least a handful of starts to prove himself, which would add up to $2 million total.
At this point it looks like both Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon will crack the Opening Day pitching staff, whereas Millwood likely wouldn’t be an option until mid-April because he waited so long to sign while holding out for a guaranteed deal that never came. He went 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA for the Orioles last year, including 0-2 with a 5.70 ERA against the Yankees.
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.