Dexter Fowler got a taste of what it’s like to play baseball in St. Louis during his 36 games as an opposing player at Busch Stadium.
Then in November, he got an unexpected sign of St. Louis fans’ dedication during the Chicago Cubs’ World Series parade, when he says he noticed a surprising amount of Cardinals red on the streets of the Windy City.
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Jahri Evans Limited Jersey And on Thursday, as he flew from his home in Las Vegas to St. Louis to have a physical — the final hurdle before signing a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Cardinals, which he completed on Friday — he got another reminder of how engaged the team’s supporters are.
While Davie, Florida, police decided not to press charges, MLB planned to investigate. The league and the players’ association had just agreed on a new domestic violence policy. Neither the Reds, nor the Dodgers, nor anyone else knew exactly what punishment Chapman’s actions would warrant, if any.
There was an interesting wrinkle to any possible discipline. If Chapman were suspended 50 games, he would not have had enough service time to qualify for free agency. That would mean an acquiring team could have had the fireballing closer for not only the majority of 2016, but 2017, too.
However, with Chapman’s past troubles, including having his license suspended for speeding, teams were not clamoring for him. The rebuilding Reds, on the other hand, were eager to deal him, with his salary due to jump from $8 million to more than $11 million in arbitration.
That’s when Brian Cashman went to owner Hal Steinbrenner to discuss the possibility of adding Chapman, both on a baseball and public relations level. Cashman knew the Reds were desperate and had placed Chapman in the discount bin, though Reds president Walt Jocketty declined this characterization. The Yankees, in rebuilding mode as well, needed assets. Cashman liked the idea of teaming Chapman with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, but the Yankees GM also knew that, come July, he might be able to cash in on Chapman’s improved trade value.