Portrait of California Angels' Jim Fregosi

Jim Fregosi: 1942-2014

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Six-time All-Star and NL Pennant-winning manager Jim Fregosi has died at a Miami hospital. He was 71.

Fregosi suffered multiple strokes while on an MLB alumni cruise last weekend. After being stabilized in the Cayman Islands, he was airlifted to Miami on Wednesday night. He was taken off life support yesterday afternoon and died at 2:30 this morning. Tracy Ringolsby reports that Fregosi’s wife Joni, his daughters Nikki, Lexy and Jennifer, and sons Robert and Jim were by his side as he passed away.

Fregosi was an expansion-draft selection of the Los Angeles Angels in 1960 and became that team’s first star. He was a six-time All-Star as a shortstop over the course of his 18-year career, playing for the Angels, New York Mets, Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He finished his career with a line of .265/.338/.398. In the low-offensive era in which he played, that worked out to a 113 OPS+ which is excellent for a shortstop.

Fregosi’s managing career had him at the helm of the Angels, White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays. Overall he was 1028-1094 with an AL West title in 1979 and an NL Pennant with Philly in 1993.  For the past 13 years he has been an assistant to the general manager for the Atlanta Braves, where he was primarily a scout. His son Jim Jr. is a major league scout as well.

Farewell to one of the games more overlooked, but most respected, stars.

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.