There is a good bit of acrimony between the Cardinals and the Brewers. Brewers fans think Albert Pujols and that whole operation in St. Louis is lousy, two-faced and low-rent (adjectives which actually filled my inbox from Brewers fans in recent weeks). The Cardinals think much the same about the Brewers. Or at least Nyjer Morgan. And you know that La Russa doesn’t do much to diminish any “us-against-the-world” feelings that simmer in the minds of his players.
It appeared yesterday that a new front had opened in that little war, with the Brewers accusing the Cardinals of jerking around their family and friends with respect to seating in Busch Stadium. It seems the Phillies families had all been located behind home plate in the NLDS, but the Brewers families were seated in multiple places around the park, causing some degree of consternation among the Brewers.
As of last night everyone in an official capacity was claiming that it was all a misunderstanding. The Cardinals explained that the Brewers families were in multiple suites, which was exactly what had been done for the Dodgers in the 2009 playoffs and the Padres and Tigers in 2006. Brewers traveling secretary Dan Larrea said “[t]here was some concern initially among the players about the situation, but it worked out.”
I suppose there will still be some beefing about this from Brewers fans who I have learned in recent weeks are really awesome at holding grudges. In this case, however, a grudge seems inappropriate. And really, given Mark Kotsay in center field, it was not even the most significant instance of someone connected to the Brewers being in a poor location yesterday.
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.
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.