Matt Carpenter will be the Cardinals’ everyday first baseman in 2017

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Matt Carpenter played nearly equal amounts at first, second, and third base for the Cardinals this past season, but he’ll be the team’s primary first baseman in 2017, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

While moving to first base full-time will cut into Carpenter’s value — second and third base are deemed more “important” positions in WAR calculations, for example — the Cardinals will likely be better off for it with a permanent home at second base for Kolten Wong, at shortstop for Aledmys Diaz, and at third base for Jhonny Peralta. Jedd Gyorko will get occasional time at both second and third base as well.

Offensively, Carpenter was excellent as always, finishing the 2016 campaign with a .271/.380/.505 triple-slash line along with 21 home runs and 68 RBI in 566 plate appearances. The National League average OPS at first base is .795 compared to .757 at second base and .781 at third base, so Carpenter will have to continue swinging the bat well to stay above-average relative to his peers.

Report: Guardians, 1B Josh Bell reach 2-year, $33M deal

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SAN DIEGO — The Cleveland Guardians and slugging first baseman Josh Bell have agreed to a two-year, $33 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending a review of medical records.

Bell played for Washington and San Diego last season, batting .266 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

Cleveland is coming off a surprising 2022 season, going 92-70 and winning the AL Central for the first time since 2018. The addition of Bell gives the Guardians more power for their lineup after they hit just 127 homers this year – the second-lowest total in the majors.

The 30-year-old Bell is a .262 hitter with 130 homers and 468 RBIs over seven seasons with three big league teams. He had his best year with Pittsburgh in 2019, making the NL All-Star team while batting .277 with 37 homers and 116 RBIs in 143 games.

The switch-hitting Bell also is expected to benefit from restrictions on defensive positioning coming to the game next year.