arbitration

Arbitration avoidance roundup: Loose ends

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By noon we’d already done a dozen posts about players and teams avoiding arbitration ahead of today’s deadline, so something had to give.

We’ll keep posting the more noteworthy cases, but here’s a roundup of the not-so-noteworthy ones that will be updated throughout the day.

• Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates: $1.75 million

• Antonio Bastardo and the Phillies: $1.45 million

• Gregor Blanco and the Giants: $1.35 million

• Sam Fuld and the Rays: $725,000

• Troy Patton and the Orioles: $815,000

• Joe Smith and the Indians: $3.15 million

• Tommy Hanson and the Angels: $3.725 million

• John Axford and the Brewers: $5 million

• John Baker and the Padres: $930,000

• Jonny Venters and the Braves: $1.625 million

• Boone Logan and the Yankees: $3.15 million

• Brian Duensing and the Twins: $1.3 million

• Luke Hochevar and the Royals: $4.56 million

• Matt Joyce and the Rays: $2.45 million

• Ryan Roberts and the Rays: $2.95 million

• Bud Norris and the Astros: $3 million

• Gordon Beckham and the White Sox: $2.925 million

• Ryan Webb and the Marlins: $975,000

• Doug Fister and the Tigers: $4 million

• Austin Jackson and the Tigers: $3.5 million

• Alex Avila and the Tigers: $2.95 million

• Alejandro De Aza and the White Sox: $2.075 million

• Rick Porcello and the Tigers: $5.1 millon

• Kendrys Morales and the Mariners: $5.25 million

• Chris Davis and the Orioles: $3.3 million

• Brian Matusz and the Orioles: $1.6 million

• Jason Heyward and the Braves: $3.65 million

• Matt Albers and the Indians: $1.75 million

• Kris Medlen and the Braves: $2.6 million

• Marco Estrada and the Brewers: $1.955 million

• Burke Badenhop and the Brewers: $1.55 million

• Ian Kennedy and the Diamondbacks: $4.265 million

• Brendan Ryan and the Mariners: $3.25 million

• Tyler Colvin and the Rockies: $2.275 million

• Ronald Belisario and the Dodgers: $1.45 million

• A.J. Ellis and the Dodgers: $2 million

• Phil Coke and the Tigers: $1.85 million

• Brennan Boesch and the Tigers: $2.3 million

• Justin Masterson and the Indians: $5.687 million

• Ian Desmond and the Nationals: $3.8 million

• James Russell and the Cubs: $1.075 million

• Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs: $2.64 million

• Alfredo Aceves and the Red Sox: $2.65 million

• Jason Vargas and the Angels: $8.5 million

• Edinson Volquez and the Padres: $5.725 million

• Andrew Bailey and the Red Sox: $4.1 million

• Daniel Bard and the Red Sox: $1.8625 million

• Franklin Morales and the Red Sox: $1.4875 million

• Andrew Miller and the Red Sox: $1.475 million

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)
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.