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Indians’ Trevor Crowe out four months after surgery

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Trevor Crowe, who spent much of last year as the Indians’ center fielder, underwent shoulder surgery on Wednesday and is expected to miss at least four months.

The switch-hitting Crowe batted .251/.302/.333 with 20 steals in 442 at-bats for the Indians last season.  He’s hit .246/.295/.333 with three homers and 53 RBI in 625 at-bats over the last two years.

Crowe entered spring training this year competing for a spot as a reserve and as a potential fill-in for Grady Sizemore.  However, having fallen behind Michael Brantley on the depth chart, he wasn’t viewed as a big part of the Indians’ plans.  The team is likely better off with Austin Kearns taking Sizemore’s place in the lineup and the stronger bats of Travis Buck and Shelley Duncan on the bench.

If he loses the entire 2010 season, Crowe figures to have a difficult time reestablishing himself going forward.  Despite his lofty pedigree — he was selected 14th overall in the 2005 draft — he hasn’t displayed anything more than a fourth-outfielder’s skill set since reaching the high minors in 2007.  The Indians may decide he’s not worth carrying on the 40-man roster next winter.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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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.

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)
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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.