Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak flew to Las Vegas to meet with outfielder Dexter Fowler in person. Mozeliak told the veteran that the club wants to move him from center field to an outfield corner in an effort to improve the overall defense in the outfield.
Fowler, 31, has never been known as an above-average defender, but he has played in center for all but one of 9,240 2/3 defensive innings in his career. So, it’s a big change. With Fowler out of center, the Cardinals plan to shift Tommy Pham over to center. Defensive metrics seem to agree that Pham is a significantly above-average defender.
Mozeliak told Fowler that the organization has no plans to trade him. Fowler has four years and $58 million remaining on his five-year, $82.5 million contract.
Goold also notes in his column that Matt Carpenter could be “an everyday player without an everyday position.” Carpenter mostly played first base last season, but did spend over 100 innings at second and third base as well.
Mets left-hander Jason Vargas has a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand, the team announced Sunday. Vargas sustained the injury after taking a comebacker off of his hand on Friday and is expected to consult with a hand specialist later today as the team settles on a course of action. Comments from GM Sandy Alderson indicate that surgery is a possibility, though the left-hander may also pitch through it for the time being.
Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the team last month. He completed a four-year run with the Royals in 2017, earning his first career All-Star nomination with an 18-11 record in 32 starts and producing a 4.16 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 6.7 SO/9 over 179 2/3 innings. Prior to the incident, the southpaw was expected to help fill out the back end of the Mets’ Opening Day rotation.
Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News estimates that Vargas will likely miss the start of the season as he faces a two- to six-week recovery period. It’s a disappointing turn of events for a pitching staff that has been absolutely ravaged by injuries over the last couple of years.