Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Cubs 5, Pirates 3: Impressive debut for Derrek Lee: two homers. Alas, that was all the offense the Buccos could really muster as Carlos Zambrano scattered seven hits over six innings. By the way, the last player who hit a home run in his Pirates debut was pitcher Matt Morris back in 2007. I was at that game. It was more notable for my surprisingly crabby first impression of PNC Park and some surprisingly shabby treatment of a Negro Leaguer. Good times!

Nationals 5, Braves 3: I’m struggling to think of a baseball player I hate more than Livan Hernandez. Dude has haunted my dreams for 14 years. I fully expect that, decades from now, he’ll be in a motorized reclining hospital bed, unable to feed himself, and then someone will prop his 75-year-old ass up to pitch six innings against the Braves and he’ll still only give up a couple of runs. Oh, and Fredi Gonzalez hit the pitcher eighth … and he bunted into a double play. Two homers for Dan Uggla.

Indians 9, Red Sox 6: I guess it was two-homer Monday, because Asdrubal Cabrera joined Lee and Uggla in the dual home run club (UPDATE: I was so angry at Livan Hernandez that I failed to realize that Rick Ankiel had two homers too). Daniel Bard entered a tie game in the eighth, poured kerosene all over the joint and dropped a lit Winston.

Marlins 7, Mets 3: Dramatics galore. Lucas Duda was poised to be the hero — or at least a co-hero — after tying it up with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but then Mike Stanton hit a grand slam of Jason Isringhausen in the top of the tenth.

Diamondbacks 5, Giants 2: Ian Kennedy recovered from a leadoff homer to shut the Giants down and collect his 13th win. Arizona is now a game back of the skidding Giants.

Dodgers 6, Padres 2: A complete game for Clayton Kershaw. Three of the Dodgers six runs scored on sacrifices. Take that, Rob Neyer!

Phillies 4, Rockies 3: Trailing 3-1 heading into the ninth, the Phillies got a two-run homer from Mayberry to tie it and then a solo shot from Shane Victorino in the 10th. Everything bounces Philly’s way. They now have a seven game lead.

Brewers 6, Cardinals 2: Seven wins in a row for Milwaukee, although this is the first in that stretch over a real team (sorry Cubs and Astros). A five-run fifth inning did the trick here. I’m sure Chris Carpenter took that beating with quiet dignity and a placid equanimity befitting his zen-like character.  Or he beat the crap out of stuff in the clubhouse afterward.

Astros 4, Reds 3: Cincy continues to confuse. Sweep the Giants, lose to the AAA-Astros.  Jose Altuve knocked in the game-winning run on a fielder’s choice in the 10th.

Mariners 8, Athletics 4: A five-run second inning for the Mariners. They scored a combined four runs in the series against the Rays over the weekend.

Yankees 3, White Sox 2: CC Sabathia wins his 16th even though he allowed loads of base runners. Just battled, baby.

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.

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.