In the lineup at first base in his first game as a Yankee, Mark Reynolds made it count. Reynolds blasted a two-run home run to left field off of Felix Doubront in the second inning, bolstering the Yankee lead to 3-0. Meanwhile, outfielder Alfonso Soriano continued to stay red hot. The former Cub entered the night with 14 RBI and four home runs in his last three games. Soriano blasted home run #25 on the season (#8 as a Yankee), a three-run shot off of Doubront in the third, bringing the Yankees up to 6-0.
Meanwhile, Yankees starter Andy Pettitte was solid, allowing three unearned runs over six and two-thirds innings. He allowed six hits, walked one, and struck out five before deferring to the bullpen. The combination of Shawn Kelley and David Robertson held the Red Sox offense silent. Joba Chamberlain got two outs in the ninth but loaded the bases in the process, so manager Joe Girardi called on lefty David Huff. Huff retired Jacoby Ellsbury to finalize the 10-3 victory.
Alex Rodriguez, by the way, went 2-for-4 with a walk. Soriano finished 3-for-4 with four runs batted in, bolstering his stats over the last four games to five home runs and 18 RBI, tying the Major League record for RBI in a four-game span. Per ESPN Stats & Info, others to do it include Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Sammy Sosa, Jim Bottomley, and Tony Lazzeri. He has had four consecutive three-hit games, becoming the first Yankee to accomplish the feat since Johnny Damon in 2006, per the YES Network. Since joining the Yankees, he is hitting .320/.354/.667.
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.