Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported yesterday that the Mets see trading Ike Davis as the “as the likely endgame” and today he dropped an interesting nugget about a proposal the team turned down over the winter:
My reporting on Friday led me to these conclusions: Just as in the offseason, the Mets are eager to move Davis — but also just as in the offseason, they want a decent return. Despite their preference for Duda, the Mets have declined several trade proposals for Davis in recent months, including Baltimore’s offer of pitcher Zach Britton, according to a person briefed on talks between the two clubs (that person said the Orioles now consider that deal off the table).
With his elite ground ball rate, Britton could have been an asset as a back-end starter or middle reliever, but the Mets reportedly aimed higher for Davis, asking the Orioles for prospect left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. They didn’t bite and it appears that Baltimore has moved on. For what it’s worth, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported in February that the Mets turned down a deal from the Rays over the winter that would have netted them outfielder Matt Joyce. Of course, that was before the Rays re-signed James Loney.
The Mets are currently giving Lucas Duda a trial run as their starting first baseman. So far, so good, as he launched a pair of two-run homers last night against the Reds to propel New York to their first victory of the season. Dealing Davis might be the endgame here, but his trade value isn’t going to improve on the bench.
UPDATE: A game-winning grand slam might improve his value. Just call this a perfectly-timed post.
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.