Ronny Paulino, Chipper Jones

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 6, Mets 5; Braves 5, Mets 1: A makeup doubleheader. Chipper Jones made like it was 1999 and that dismantling the Mets was still his primary purpose on the Earth. Those were the days. He hit a homer doubled and scored twice in game 1 He drove in two more in the nightcap. Something named “Chris Schwinden” pitched for the Mets. They ought to have that looked at. All four of the starters in the double header were rookies.

Phillies 7, Brewers 2: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins were all out of the lineup. And it didn’t really much matter. Cole Hamels pitched a four-hitter and Hunter Pence drove in three in the first came of what could be an NLCS preview. Or, actually, if the Dbacks keep winning I suppose it could be an NLDS preview, as Milwaukee is only a couple of games ahead of Arizona at the moment.

Dodgers 7, Nationals 4; Dodgers vs. Nationals: POSTPONED:  They tried to have a makeup doubleheader in Washington, but they could only get one game in before it was washed out. A two-run double for Tony Gwynn, Jr. in the ninth broke the tie and a Dee Gordon RBI single added insurance. The Dodgers’ bullpen stepped up big here as Chad Billingsley was yanked in the third and the relief corps pitched a no-hitter for the remaining six and two-thirds.

Orioles 5, Yankees 4: The Yankees built a 4-1 lead but the bats went silent after the fourth inning. They have to be sick to death of the Orioles by now, who’ve they played in eight of the last 14 games. New York heads to Los Angeles now. Let’s see how snakebitten they are: will it rain in Southern California?

Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 4: The Sox drop their fourth in five tries. J.P. Arencibia hit a three-run homer. Andrew Miller was basically Andrew Miller, giving up five runs in five innings. But hey, at least there are those studies out there that show that how hot a team is in the last month of the season has very little bearing on their playoff performance.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 1: Ian Kennedy wins his 19th while striking out 11. It was the Dbacks’ 14th win in 16 games.

Mariners 4, Royals 1: A two-run homer for Justin Smoak, his first in months.

White Sox 8, Indians 1: Brent Morel hit two homers — both while first-pitch swinging — and Paul Konerko hit a grand slam. The Sox scored seven runs in the seventh inning.

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.