John Lackey

John Lackey doesn’t think Alex Rodriguez should be playing baseball

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Red Sox starter John Lackey doesn’t think Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez should be allowed to play baseball while he appeals his 211-game suspension, which runs through the end of the 2014 season. Via the Boston Globe:

“I’ve got a problem with it. You bet I do,” Lackey said on Thursday. “How is he still playing? He obviously did something and he’s playing. I’m not sure that’s right . . . It’s pretty evident he’s been doing stuff for a lot of years I’ve been facing him.”

Lackey said the topic comes up frequently in the Red Sox clubhouse, especially among the pitchers.

“Sure, we talk about it,” he said. “But talking to the media about it is a little bit different. People have strong feelings.

“He took me deep the first time I faced him as a rookie, and he admitted to doing stuff back then. There are a lot of things I want back from him.”

The problem, of course, is that Rodriguez’s right to appeal was collectively bargained. Lackey may not like Rodriguez and Rodriguez may be 100 percent guilty, but the players have been afforded the right to appeal. If Lackey happened to be the accused, I’m sure he would want to exercise his collectively-bargained right. Assuming that is the case it is hypocritical of Lackey to criticize Rodriguez for appealing, and any Major Leaguer who enjoys the benefits provided to them by the union should not be siding with Lackey on this issue.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was more level-headed about the situation:

As was Yankees manager Joe Girardi:

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.