Tyler Maun of MiLB.com reports that a crazy incident occurred in Boise during a game between the Everett AquaSox and the Boise Hawks in the Northwest League yesterday. Jesus Montero, who is with Everett as he rehabs from an oblique injury, was coaching first base and was being heckled from the stands. Not by an ordinary fan, but a cross-checker — a scout who usually oversees scouts in a given geographical area — who is actually employed by the Mariners.
The incident was kicked off when the scout yelled at Montero to hustle off the field after an inning, yelling “Rapido! Rapido!” Then the scout ordered an ice cream sandwich and had it sent to Montero in the dugout, which one assumes was a dig at his weight issues (Montero showed up for spring training 40 pounds overweight). Montero didn’t take kindly to that at all, heading toward the stands with a bat in his hands, throwing the ice cream sandwich at the scout and screaming expletives at the scout. He had to restrained by an Everett coach.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik told the Seattle Times that he was looking into the matter. And while, as the high-profile player who was acting aggressively, Montero is going draw most of the heat and coverage here, what on God’s green Earth is a scout employed by the Mariners doing acting like that at a baseball game which he is presumably working? Toward a Mariners player no less? We obviously don’t have all the information here, but if his behavior was as reported by Maun, I’m not sure how that guy doesn’t get fired pretty quickly.
In other news, the minor leagues are a great bang for your entertainment buck.
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.