Man-Handing-out-Money

Deadspin is trying to buy a Hall of Fame vote. It’s a fantastic idea.

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Viva chaos: Deadspin is trying to buy a Hall of Fame vote from someone.

After correctly observing how screwed up and ridiculous the spectacle of watching people moralize and over-think come Hall of Fame vote time is, Tim Marchman lays out his plan:

The sensible thing to do would be to just stop paying attention to this raging trash fire, but we don’t think that’s enough. We’re going to seize some small, symbolic bit of power and turn it over to the public. We’re going to buy a Hall of Fame vote.

If you’re a 1o-year member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, we want to give you cash in exchange for allowing Deadspin’s readers to fill out your ballot. We’re not entirely sure what the market value of a vote is, so we’d like you to contact us—at marchman@deadspin.com, or in the comments below—and name a price, so that we can start negotiations.

I think it’s a hoot. Sure, it’s corrupt, but it’s no more corrupting to the process than it is to have people who have never covered baseball — or who haven’t covered baseball since the 70s or whatever — voting on Hall of Fame candidates. It’s no more unseemly than the appalling game of character assassination that Hall of Fame voters have engaged in in recent years when it comes to guys who they suspect of PED use, but either can’t or won’t tell us why. Or can’t make a coherent case for why it matters.

But most of all it’s fun. And fun is one thing the actual, un-bought-and-paid-for Hall of Fame voters have taken out of the process in recent years. They’ve done so by talking down to baseball fans and claiming that what we thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated on the baseball field was, in reality, horrible. By acting as if their task in filling out a ballot is some awful dark night of the soul. About how how utterly serious it is and how they wish they didn’t have to make such hard choices. Well, don’t. Take $150 form Deadspin and let people who actually like sports vote on the thing.

Or write a column about how Deadspin’s offer is obscene and a disgrace to journalism. That will be just as fun, actually. Indeed, now that I think about it, I’d rather see that.

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.