Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Angels 2, Rangers 1: Mark Trumbo hits a walkoff homer off Mike Adams to help Anaheim salvage one in what was still a disappointing four-game set. They trailed the Rangers by just 1½ games early last week and now it’s six. Oh, and Jered Weaver, while pitching well, still managed to get visibly annoyed at his own shortstop for missing a popup and then jawed at the Rangers dugout after Mike Napoli hit a home run. Such a mature young man this Weaver is turning out to be.

Braves 1, Giants 0: Mike Minor and Tim Lincecum were each fantastic, but Lincecum left one out over the plate to Chipper Jones in the fifth inning. Turned out one mistake was the difference. Viva New Deadball Era.

Blue Jays 7, Athletics 0: Ricky Romero tossed a three-hit shutout for his fifth straight win. Colby Rasmus homered and scored three times.

Dodgers 5, Brewers 1: Of course the day after I write about how the Brewers are unstoppable, someone stops them. Clayton Kershaw, specifically (8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 6K).

Nationals 3, Reds 1: Jordan Zimmermann beats Bronson Arroyo, with the difference-maker being a two-run bases loaded single for ex-Red Jonny Gomes.

Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 1: Rain turned this from a battle between Ian Kennedy and Vance Worley into a battle between Micah Owings and David Herndon. Thing was, Kennedy was in long enough to dig a hole and Herndon and the rest of the Phillies pen wasn’t very generous to the Dbacks in return. A two-run homer for John Mayberry, Jr.

Padres 3, Marlins 1: The last time we saw Tim Stauffer he was giving up five homers in a 13-1 loss to the Reds. He’s feeling much better now (7IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5K).

Yankees 8, Twins 4: Nine strikeouts for CC Sabathia and homers from Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones. Joe Mauer played right field, which was fun. And this nugget from the game story was even more fun: “The outfield of Rene Tosoni, Ben Revere and Mauer has four homers combined this season, compared to 34 for Curtis Granderson of the Yankees.”

Red Sox 4, Royals 3: The Red Sox keep pace after Josh Beckett — who struggled early — settled down and figured it out. Dustin Pedroia went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI.

Indians 4, White Sox 2: The Tribe leaves for Detroit on a positive note. Even more positive: they don’t have to face Justin Verlander this weekend. Pretty critical series ahead. And speaking of heads

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.