Dan Haren AP

UPDATE: The Dan Haren-for-Carlos Marmol swap is not happening

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UPDATE: Oh boy. Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com was told by a source that the deal is off.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears that Carlos Marmol would have signed off on the trade, but the Cubs pulled the deal off the table for some reason. It could be because of the money involved or the medicals or maybe because Theo Epstein felt bad for pulling a fast one on Dipoto. In any case, the Angels are now talking to other teams and must decide by midnight ET whether to exercise Haren’s $15.5 million option for 2013. They could hypothetically pick up the option and trade him at a later date.

9:43 PM: As Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com notes, the hold-up isn’t because the Angels got cold feet, but rather because the Cubs are waiting on Carlos Marmol to waive his no-trade clause. If he agrees to join the Angels, Dan Haren will go to the Cubs.

This is a strange development, as Marmol’s comments to Dominican newspaper El Caribe earlier tonight (via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com) made it sound like he was on board and the trade was a foregone conclusion. Apparently not.

9:30 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com is also hearing that the deal isn’t done and that the Angels continue to talk to other teams. The clock is ticking, though.

8:53 PM: Hold your horses, everybody. According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, reports of a deal are premature and the Angels are still in active discussions with more than one team.

For what it’s worth, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes that one potential hold-up of the trade is that the Angels and Cubs are waiting for approval from MLB because of the money being exchanged. In other words, don’t assume this deal is dead. Still, this could be a long night.

8:15 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com writes that the Angels could contribute all or part of Haren’s $3.5 million buyout. Wait, shouldn’t the Cubs be covering part of Marmol’s salary here? Epstein may have pulled a heck of a Jedi mind trick on Jerry Dipoto.

7:59 PM: Dan Haren said earlier this week that he expected to be traded before tonight’s midnight deadline on his $15.5 million club option for 2013. Not only is he being traded, but there’s an interesting twist involved.

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times and Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago are reporting that the Angels have traded Haren to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol. Yancen Pujols was first to report that Marmol was involved in a trade.

No word yet on how much money will exchange hands or if other players will be involved. Marmol is set to make $9.8 million next season. Meanwhile, the Angels were prepared to buy out Haren’s option for $3.5 million if they couldn’t find a trade partner.

Getting Haren is a major coup for Theo Epstein and company, even coming off a down season where he posted a 4.33 ERA over 30 starts while showing diminished velocity and dealing with a back issue. If he can rebound, the Cubs could flip him for a pretty nice haul at the trade deadline next year.

As for Marmol, the erratic right-hander is coming off a season where he posted a 3.42 ERA, 20 saves and a 72/45 K/BB ratio over 55 1/3 innings. Most expected the Angels to be in the market for a closer this offseason, but that may no longer be the case with Marmol and Ernesto Frieri in-house. That would take away one potential destination for Rafael Soriano.

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.