Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy

Mets tie a major league record in 17-1 drubbing of Cubs

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The game started off quietly enough, with the Mets and Cubs tied at 1 after three innings. It didn’t stay that way, though: the Mets exploded for 15 runs between the fourth and sixth innings in routing the Cubs 17-1 on Wednesday.

David Wright, Ike Davis, Scott Hairston and Daniel Murphy combined to drive in all of the runs for the Mets, with Wright knocking in five and the other three plating four apiece. The Mets were the first team since the 2007 Rangers and just the fourth since 1918 to have four players each with four RBI in a game.

Those 2007 Rangers did it in the memorable 30-3 win over the Orioles in the first game of a doubleheader on Aug. 22. Marlon Byrd, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ramon Vazquez and Travis Metcalf all had four RBI in that one, with Salty and Vazquez knocking in seven runs apiece. Metcalf did it one swing, delivering a grand slam in his lone at-bat off the bench.

The Mets also got a grand slam today, that from Hairston. Murphy got three of his four RBI on his first two homers of the season. Davis homered and doubled twice to raise his average above .200 for the first time all year. Wright knocked in five runs with a sac fly, a double and a single and then got the final three innings off, costing him two at-bats.

The other teams with four four-RBI players: the 1953 Braves (Johnny Logan, Eddie Mathews, Jim Pendleton and Jack Dittmer in a 19-4 win over the Pirates) and the 1979 Phillies (Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Garry Maddox and Bob Boone in a 23-22 win over the Cubs).

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.