Associated Press

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

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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.

 

Chris Archer exits start after one inning due to apparent injury

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Pirates starter Chris Archer exited Tuesday night’s start against the Pirates while warming up ahead of the second inning. He was examined by the Pirates’ training staff before walking off the field. The reason is currently unknown but an update should be forthcoming.

Archer allowed a pair of singles before getting consecutive strikeouts to see his way out of the first inning. The 30-year-old right-hander has had a forgettable year in Pittsburgh, entering Tuesday’s action 3-9 with a 5.23 ERA and a 141/55 K/BB ratio in 118 2/3 innings.

The Pirates, overall, are in rough shape, losing 22 of their last 27 games dating back to July 21. They are 51-73, 15.5 games out of first place in the NL Central cellar. It may behoove them to play it safe with Archer since they don’t have anything to play for over the remainder of the regular season. The club holds options for his 2020 and ’21 seasons at $9 million and $11 million, respectively.