Bartolo Colon

Bartolo Colon picks up the 200th win of his career

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Mets starter Bartolo Colon won the 200th game of his 17-year career with a strong performance in Philadelphia against the Phillies on Friday night. The right-hander allowed just one run on six hits over eight innings, out-dueling Phillies starter A.J. Burnett. Colon had a chance to win #200 last Sunday, but struggled against the Giants.

The Mets bullpen put Colon’s 200th win in jeopardy with a shaky ninth inning. Lefty Dana Eveland started the inning, allowing a lead-off double to Chase Utley followed by a walk to Ryan Howard. Manager Terry Collins brought in closer Jenrry Mejia, dealing with a calf issue lately, but he was greeted with a Marlon Byrd single to load the bases. Grady Sizemore knocked in a pair with a double off of the right field wall — nearly a game-tying grand slam — to make it 5-3. Carlos Ruiz weakly lined out to right field for the first out, then Cody Asche grounded out to the right side, knocking in a run in the process. Mejia was finally able to get pinch-hitter Reid Brignac to strike out looking to end the game, preserving Colon’s win.

Colon, 41, is the 92nd pitcher to accrue 200 wins over his career. Giants starter Tim Hudson and CC Sabathia of the Yankees are the only other active members of the 200-win club. Blue Jays lefty Mark Buehrle, with 197 wins, will be the next to get his credential into the club, perhaps by the end of this month.

Colon has dominated the Phillies this season. He has gone at least seven innings and gotten the win in all three starts, allowing only four runs in total. On the season, he has an 11-9 record with a 3.97 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and a 117/20 K/BB ratio in 154 1/3 innings.

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.