Johnny Cueto left his Game 1 start in the first inning with what was initially said to be back spasms, but the Reds have diagnosed him with a mild right oblique strain.
Not only do they remain undecided about removing Cueto from the playoff roster–which would make him ineligible to return before the World Series–the Reds still haven’t ruled out having him start Game 4 on Wednesday.
That seems awfully unlikely at the very least, but clearly the Reds want to avoid losing Cueto for a potential NLCS matchup if at all possible. And if they win tonight there won’t be a Game 4 and Cueto will have more time to rest.
“But if it’s unavoidable, then that’s something different,” manager Dusty Baker said, via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com “We’re weighing our options.” Baker also confirmed that if the Reds do remove Cueto from the NLDS roster Mike Leake would replace him.
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.