Umpire Drake backs off, as Cardinals' Molina argues, and is restrained by Descalso at Miller Park in Milwaukee

Report: Yadier Molina, Gerald Laird fought last night

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The Cardinals just dropped two of three to the Brewers in a crucial early-week series, falling 3 1/2 games back of Milwaukee in the National League Central standings. And now it appears that the Cards’ problems have spilled off the field.

According to Craig Mish of SiriusXM, catchers Yadier Molina and Gerald Laird got into an “ugly” fight on Wednesday night after arriving in south Florida for a four-game series against the Marlins.

Not many details are currently available, and it’s possible that nothing more will leak out, but Mish was told that Laird called Molina a “cheater” at one point during the scuffle and that teammates eventually had to separate the two backstops.

Molina was suspended five games by Major League Baseball for bumping and spraying spittle onto home plate umpire Rob Drake during Tuesday night’s 8-7 victory in Milwaukee. Laird has been vaulted into starting duties in his absence. Perhaps that situation somehow played into Wednesday’s altercation.

Or maybe the brawl was born out of a high-stakes poker game. Bud Selig hates those.

UPDATE, 8:04 PM: According to Tim McKernan of KFNS 590 in St. Louis, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has confirmed that Laird and Molina got “into a disagreement” on Wednesday night.

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.