Christian Red of the New York Daily News has a fantastic in-depth remembrance of John Sayles’ “Eight Men Out,” which came out 25 years ago last week.
He talks to some of the stars, primarily about the making of the movie, and we learn a lot of neat nuggets about the oh-so-wonderful film. Stuff like D.B. Sweeney having to learn to hit left-handed. Charlie Sheen realizing one day that, oh, he wasn’t the star. But how, despite that, he worked hard and helped draw extras to the set when the lowish-budget movie needed to fill a ballpark. There’s also a good second-hand story from Gordon Clapp about how the guy he played — White Sox catcher Ray Schalk — wasn’t exactly happy when Eliot Asinof, the author of the book “Eight Men Out,” tried to interview him back in the 60s. It’s loaded with great stuff.
There is some effort taken to compare the Black Sox Scandal with the Biogenesis scandal, but neither Red nor his subjects are terribly taken with the idea that PEDs are anywhere near as bad as throwing the World Series for money, even if the PED stuff is regrettable. That talk is both measured and, more importantly, doesn’t take away from a great story about a cool movie.
Now: do one about “Matewan,” which is Sayles’ best movie in my view and a personal top-5.
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.