The New York Daily News reports that, now that A-Rod has dropped his appeal and is accepting his suspension, Major League Baseball is going to drop the lawsuit it filed last March against Biogenesis, Anthony Bosch, Juan Carlos Nunez and multiple other defendants.
Which, of course, just continues to underscore how legally baseless a lawsuit that was and how its putative purpose — legal redress against drug dealers who caused damage to the league by enabling the breach of the Joint Drug Agreement an the Collective Bargaining Agreement — was total baloney. Major League Baseball filed that lawsuit for the sole purpose of gaining leverage in an effort to suspend Alex Rodriguez and the other Biogenesis players. Now that that has been done, there is no purpose for the suit.
Which may mean Major League Baseball was successful. That it did what it set out to do. But it doesn’t change the fact that its filing of that suit was a ridiculous misuse of the legal system. A legal system, the purpose of which, is to redress legal injury, not to be used as a cudgel in an employment dispute. Major League Baseball asserted that its contracts were breached. They were not. It asserted that it suffered financial damage as a result. It did not. This was akin to your employer filing a lawsuit against the guy who sold you a bag of weed in order to suspend you from work for violating the office’s drug policy.
If that happened people would freak out at the overreach. Here: no one seemed to care. Indeed, not too many people — including the MLBPA, much to its shame and now its relative powerlessness — complained about this when this suit was filed last March. Not too many people will complain about it now. When the history of Biogenesis is written, people will likely credit Bud Selig and Major League Baseball for bold action and, ultimately, success. After all, the only visible victim of it is A-Rod and everyone hates him.
But it doesn’t change the fact that that success came as a result of a comical misuse of the legal system. And now, with the suit’s dismissal, Major League Baseball is acknowledging that.
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.