Chase Headley Getty

So much for that: Chase Headley won’t negotiate with the Padres during the season

7 Comments

OK, now this is just awkward.

Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler said yesterday that he’s given general manager Josh Byrnes the go-ahead to re-start long-term contract negotiations with Chase Headley and is willing to make the third baseman “the highest-paid player in club history.”

It was a whole big story in San Diego today, with lots of quotes from Fowler and lots of speculation about the size of the contract. One problem? Headley has no interest in talking contract during the season.

Here’s what he told Corey Brock of MLB.com today:

We made it abundantly clear [before] that we didn’t want to talk about it during the season I didn’t think that for me and for the team that it was good to get caught up with all of this during the season. … It’s flattering they feel the way they feel about me. I love playing in San Diego, I love the fans. But I just don’t think now is the time to get involved with this. That’s it. If there’s an opportunity to engage after the season, so be it. I didn’t want to have to deal with the fallout I’m dealing with.

Headley is under team control via arbitration next season as well, but at that point he’ll be making over $10 million and will be just 162 games from hitting the open market as a free agent.

It’s like that old saying about relationships goes: “You can’t want it bad enough for both of us.” (I have no idea if that’s actually an old saying, but I vaguely remember hearing something along those lines once and it sort of applies here pretty well.)

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
5 Comments

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
7 Comments

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.