On the heels of a report earlier this week that the Diamondbacks were listening to offers for Trevor Bauer because he “fell out of favor” with some members of the organization, team president Derrick Hall told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com yesterday that the young right-hander isn’t being shopped.
Hall acknowledged that Bauer made some mistakes during his rookie season, but he also praised him for reaching out to several teammates and members of the front office this offseason in an effort to make amends.
“He realizes he made mistakes, and I applaud that,” Hall said to reporters at the club’s Celebrity Golf Classic on Friday. “That shows a tremendous amount of maturity on his part.”
At issue was Bauer’s apparent unwillingness to adapt his style of pitching to major league hitters and his poor communication with catcher Miguel Montero. For what it’s worth, Montero mentioned some communication issues following Bauer’s second major league start. Hall understands why some are getting the impression that Bauer is on the block and there’s always the chance he could be moved since Kevin Towers has a policy where he’s willing to listen on anybody, but the Diamondbacks still consider the 2011 first-round pick an important piece for the future.
“Teams are assuming after the bumpy start that Trevor had that we may be looking to move him, and we are not. We are not shopping him,” Hall said. “Again, if they ask, [GM Kevin Towers’] response is ‘Hey, we are willing to listen,’ and that’s what’s happened here. Trevor has a bright future.”
Bauer, who turns 22 in March, posted a 6.06 ERA and 17/13 K/BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings in four starts with the Diamondbacks this season. He has a 3.00 ERA and 200 strikeouts over 156 innings in the minor leagues.
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.
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.