Today Alex Rodriguez’s legal team amended the lawsuit A-Rod filed last month. No legal changes. The biggest factual changes are the inclusion of allegations surrounding Bud Selig’s failure to testify at the arbitration. From the Daily News:
They claim the baseball commissioner’s “cowardly stance” is consistent with his highly inappropriate past conduct – and as proof, they included a photo of Selig posing with a young fan wearing a Cincinnati Reds hat and an “A-Roid” T-shirt. “One cannot imagine the commissioner of any other professional sport – or indeed the CEO of any business – doing something similar with respect to one of his or her players or employees,” Team A-Rod said in the papers filed in Manhattan federal court.
Like so much of the original lawsuit and the public relations strategy Team A-Rod has taken since this drama began, this is all calculated to put Major League Baseball in a bad light and to try to make it appear as if A-Rod never had a chance at a fair hearing, thereby justifying their case being heard in court rather than dismissed as redundant. I’m dubious, however, about its legal merit or how successful it’ll be. It’s a lot of bomb-throwing.
The Daily News — which has spent most of the past decade slamming A-Rod one way or another — certainly thinks it lacks merit. So much so that they took a swipe at one of the people cited in the A-Rod complaint:
Well, you’re not exactly the New York Times. Pfft.
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.