final vote

“Final Vote” balloting now open for 2012 All-Star Game

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Major League Baseball revealed its 2012 All-Star rosters Sunday on TBS. But not everything is set for next Tuesday night’s game in Kansas City.

Over the next week, online ballots can be cast to send one additional player from each league to participate in this year’s Midsummer Classic.

MLB calls it the “Final Vote,” and it’s now open.

Your options are:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Jonathan Broxton, RP, Royals
The 28-year-old right-hander has rebuilt his brand this season in Kansas City, currently boasting a 2.05 ERA and 20 saves in 30 2/3 innings as the Royals’ ninth-inning man. Broxton would join teammate Billy Butler as the only two hometown representatives at Kauffman Stadium.

Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers
The Japanese right-hander told reporters last week that he didn’t feel deserving of an All-Star nod, but he might get one anyway. Darvish has posted a stellar 3.57 ERA and 10.0 K/9 through the first 95 2/3 innings of his major league career. The Rangers spent over $110 million on him this past winter.

Ernesto Frieri, RP, Angels
Frieri has surrendered zero runs and just six hits in 23 1/3 innings out of the Angels’ bullpen since being acquired from the Padres in early May. He has solidified Anaheim’s ninth-inning role.

Jason Hammel, SP, Orioes
Hammel carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning earlier this season against the Twins and has a 3.29 ERA through 15 starts (93 innings) for second-place Baltimore. The 29-year-old starter would join O’s catcher Matt Wieters and outfielder Adam Jones out in western Missouri. Jim Johnson also got the nod.

Jake Peavy, SP, White Sox
The 31-year-old right-hander is back to his old tricks, with a 2.96 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 101/24 K/BB ratio through 112 2/3 innings this season. The American League Central-leading White Sox already have left-handed starter Chris Sale, first baseman Paul Konerko and designated hitter Adam Dunn ticketed for Kansas City. Peavy is also plenty deserving.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Michael Bourn, OF, Braves
Bourn is having the best offensive year of his career, already featuring a career-high seven home runs, a solid .307/.355/.442 batting line, 22 stolen bases and 52 runs scored through 77 games. The 29-year-old center fielder has been to one All-Star Game, in 2010 as a member of the Astros.

David Freese, 3B, Cardinals
Freese burst onto the scene last October with his record 21 postseason RBI and has followed that up with a decent first half. The third baseman entered play Sunday with 13 home runs, 48 RBI and an .812 OPS.

Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
The American League has a 20-year-old on its roster (Angels outfielder Mike Trout). Will the National League get Harper, who’s only 19? The former No. 1 overall pick has already become a major-league sensation just 56 games into his career and is backing up the hype with impact play all around the diamond.

Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks
Hill has already hit for the cycle twice this season and entered play Sunday with a cool .301/.362/.516 batting line. His numbers may be inflated by the batter-friendly confines of Arizona’s Chase Field, but there is no denying that he’s been a big-time run producer in the first half of the 2012 campaign.

Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves
This is the sentimental pick, as Jones has announced that he plans to retire at the end of the year. He’s hitting .291/.372/.450 with six home runs, six doubles and 28 RBI in 172 plate appearances this season.

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.