Fowler, Cardinals agree on 5-year deal

GM Mozeliak: 'This was always someone that we were hoping to sign'

Fowler, Cardinals agree on 5-year deal

Though the Cardinals did not make any transactions during their four-day stay at the Winter Meetings, it did not take long after their return to St. Louis for them to complete their pursuit of a new center fielder.

St. Louis announced Friday morning that it had signed center fielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed, but MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported that it was for $82.5 million and includes a full no-trade clause.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Birds of a feather: Fowler a perfect fit for Cardinals

Veteran center fielder, leadoff hitter will also contribute in clubhouse

Birds of a feather: Fowler a perfect fit for Cardinals

The negotiations between Dexter Fowler and the Cardinals were nearing the home stretch this week when general manager John Mozeliak wanted to call the center fielder he was courting from the Winter Meetings. Fowler did not answer his phone, however.

"We were on a two-hour time difference, and Mo actually wanted to get in touch with me, but I was actually in the dentist chair," Fowler explained Friday. "So I couldn't answer my phone. I actually showed [my agent] the picture and he showed Mo. So [Mozeliak] knew I wasn't lying. "

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Fowler should help Cards get back to strengths

Fowler should help Cards get back to strengths

No, the Cardinals won't get better than the Cubs with this one potential move, regardless of how smart it appears to be. All the signing of center fielder Dexter Fowler will do is close the gap.

That it comes at the expense of the Cards' chief rival is an added bonus.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals add Fowler, Busch Stadium masher

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Cardinals add Fowler, Busch Stadium masher

Free-agent outfielder Dexter Fowler has found a new home: the Cardinals.

In Fowler, not only is St. Louis picking up a reliable outfielder -- his 4.2 WAR in 2016 was the best of his career to date -- but the Cardinals will be able to enjoy watching a hitter thrive in a familiar environment.

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Cardinals lay groundwork at Meetings

Cardinals lay groundwork at Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- A Winter Meetings stay that included myriad discussions with agents and clubs, as well as internal debate about the optimal way to solve their outfield void, ended without the Cardinals completing a transaction. They left hoping that the work done over their four-day stay outside Washington, D.C., formed the foundation for future action.

On Thursday night, MLB.com confirmed through sources that free-agent outfielder Dexter Fowler was en route to St. Louis to undergo a physical on Friday. An agreement between the Cardinals and Fowler is already in place, though the club has not confirmed a deal. Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports was first to report Fowler's impending physical.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards lose Cordoba, add Wilson in Rule 5 Draft

St. Louis' infield prospect picked by SD; outfielder selected in Minor League phase

Cards lose Cordoba, add Wilson in Rule 5 Draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- A year after the Padres snagged a promising pitching prospect from the Cardinals in the Rule 5 Draft to assist in their rebuilding efforts, San Diego went after St. Louis' talent again. This time it was plucking infielder Allen Cordoba, who led the Appalachian League in batting average this past season and was ranked as the organization's 19th-best prospect in MLB Pipeline, with the third overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.

Cordoba was the only Minor League player in the Cardinals' system picked in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, which marked the final official event of the Winter Meetings. The Cardinals didn't make a selection until the Draft's Triple-A phase, when they nabbed outfielder Austin Wilson, a player with whom they are plenty familiar.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mozeliak won't sacrifice future for present

Mozeliak won't sacrifice future for present

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The number of potential offseason targets for the Cardinals dwindled on Wednesday, as the Rockies and White Sox highlighted Day 3 of the Winter Meetings by snagging a pair of available outfielders who had, to varying degrees, drawn St. Louis' interest.

Ian Desmond, who moved to the outfield in 2016, agreed to terms on a five-year contract with Colorado reportedly worth $70 million. Hours later, the White Sox continued their all-in rebuild by shipping Adam Eaton to the Nationals in exchange for three prospects, including Lucas Giolito, ranked by MLB Pipeline as baseball's third-best prospect.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards rework Spring Training plan to get more athletic

Cards rework Spring Training plan to get more athletic

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- While the Cardinals are unlikely to distinguish themselves as among the offseason's most active, the organization remains persistent with its intent to shift its on-field identity once again.

They've done that with unintended regularity in recent seasons, going from a team that had historic success with runners in scoring position in 2013, to a club that rode the strength of its pitching staff in 2015, to one that compensated for defensive deficiencies by riding the long ball in 2016.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards want to build around Wong, not trade him

Cards want to build around Wong, not trade him

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the Cardinals continue to explore the trade market for a potential outfield addition, it's no surprise that clubs have often asked for top prospects in return. But there has also been widespread interest in players who have already ascended to the Majors, one of those being second baseman Kolten Wong.

Though Wong, who signed a five-year, $25.5 million contract in March, has not yet pieced together six consecutive months of steady production, his athleticism, age (Wong turned 26 in October) and contract are appealing to several other clubs. The catch, however, is that the Cardinals are bullish on Wong's potential for the same reasons.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards clear Martinez, Reyes for '17 Classic

Cards clear Martinez, Reyes for '17 Classic

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Though neither has been formally announced as a participant in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, pitchers Carlos Martinez and Alex Reyes have been granted permission by the Cardinals to represent the Dominican Republic in the international tournament.

Martinez is expected to be named to that team soon. Reyes is not yet sure whether he'll receive an invitation from the Dominican federation. Final rosters must be submitted no later than Feb. 6.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards won't utilize Kelly as backup catcher

Cards won't utilize Kelly as backup catcher

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- General manager John Mozeliak said Monday the Cardinals are leaning toward having 22-year-old catcher Carson Kelly begin the 2017 season in the Minors, which means that the club will remain engaged in the catching market this offseason.

The Cardinlas' decision to release Brayan Pena before the final year of his contract thrust Kelly to second on the Cardinals' catching depth chart. He showed promise as a big-league catcher during a September cameo, but the Cardinals are concerned about the possibility of stunting Kelly's development if he were to play sparingly as Yadier Molina's backup.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Molina commits to World Baseball Classic

Molina commits to World Baseball Classic

With the World Baseball Classic just a few months away, the rosters are beginning to take shape. More names surfaced Monday as the World Baseball Classic released an initial list of 30 players who are confirmed to be participating in the 2017 tournament.

Spanning 16 countries, the players include 24 Major League All-Stars, but the upcoming WBC, which will take place in March, provides a global stage for veterans and rising stars alike.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kelly, Bader on Fall League's Top Prospects Team

Selected by AFL managers and coaches, the team recognizes 24 players who stood out

Kelly, Bader on Fall League's Top Prospects Team

The 2016 Arizona Fall League came to an end on Nov. 19, when the Mesa Solar Sox, powered by a two-homer, 4-for-4 performance from Cubs top prospect Ian Happ, defeated the Surprise Saguaros, 6-1, in the championship game at Scottsdale Stadium.

Since then, MLBPipeline.com has broken down this year's impressive contingent of Fall League participants in different ways, highlighting the circuit's top performers and breakout prospects and even constructing an All-AFL Team.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Holliday's Cards tenure over with Yanks deal

Longtime first baseman reportedly signs one-year contract with Bombers

Holliday's Cards tenure over with Yanks deal

ST. LOUIS -- Matt Holliday's chances of returning to St. Louis in 2017 went from slim to none on Sunday as he agreed to a one-year contract with the Yankees. Holliday, according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi, will earn $13 million under the one-year deal.

The move to New York puts an official end point on Holliday's career as a Cardinal. The organization choose not to exercise the left fielder's $17 million option at the end of this season after agreeing that it was time to go in a different direction with its outfield makeup.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals non-tender Maness to have flexibility

St. Louis now has one open spot on 40-man roster

Cardinals non-tender Maness to have flexibility

ST. LOUIS -- Though there was uncertainty about whether Seth Maness would recover from elbow surgery in time for the start of the 2017 season, the Cardinals' decision to not tender Maness a contract on Friday had more to do with a roster crunch than it did concerns about future performance, general manager John Mozeliak said.

Maness, once the bullpen's double-play specialist who is now a free agent, became a strong non-tender candidate just 24 hours earlier when the Cardinals completed a trade with the Braves. In that trade, St. Louis sent starter Jaime Garcia to Atlanta in exchange for three prospects. One of those prospects, John Gant, had to be placed on the 40-man roster. That put the Cardinals at full capacity.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals part with Garcia, land 3 Braves prospects

Righties Gant, Ellis, infielder Dykstra acquired for oft-injured left-hander

Cardinals part with Garcia, land 3 Braves prospects

ST. LOUIS -- Jaime Garcia's injury-plagued tenure with the Cardinals has come to an end, as St. Louis dealt the lefty starter to Atlanta on Thursday for a trio of young players. In return, the Cards landed right-handers John Gant and Chris Ellis and second baseman Luke Dykstra. Only Gant has previous Major League experience.

When the Cardinals exercised Garcia's $12 million club option after the season, it was with the intention of exploring possible trade partners. Instead of letting Garcia walk as a free agent, the Cards hoped to net something in return. What they got were three prospects, all of whom ranked on the Braves' Top 30 list, per MLB Pipeline.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

New agreement includes change to home-field advantage in World Series

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

IRVING, Texas -- Major League Baseball's players and owners reached a tentative five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2021 season on Wednesday night. The parties will follow up today with a formal document, which then must be ratified by representatives of both sides. 

At 8:40 p.m. ET, an assortment of happy players, owners, lawyers and staffers poured from meeting rooms to exchange handshakes and hugs. That's how quickly 36 hours of round-the-clock negotiations ended, nearly four hours before today's deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET to reach a deal. Short of an agreement, the sport was faced with the best-case scenario of an extension or owners could have imposed a lockout.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards to honor '67 title team, '16 top players

59th annual St. Louis Baseball Writers Dinner set for Jan. 15

Cards to honor '67 title team, '16 top players

ST. LOUIS -- Members of the Cardinals' 1967 World Series championship team, as well as top performers from last year's club, are slated to be honored at the 59th annual St. Louis Baseball Writers Dinner on Jan. 15, 2017.

Tickets for the event, which will be held at the Union Station Hotel, went on sale Wednesday at $150 per ticket. Tickets can also be purchased as part of a Winter Warm-Up bundle for $175. That represents a savings of $15 if buying the two separately.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals announce Minor League staffs

Cardinals announce Minor League staffs

ST. LOUIS -- The recent promotions of Mike Shildt and Oliver Marmol to manager Mike Matheny's big league staff opened a pair of Minor League managerial jobs. Those have now been filled.

The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that former longtime farmhand Stubby Clapp will be taking over for Shildt as manager of the Triple-A Memphis club. Clapp played parts of four seasons with Memphis from 1996-2000 and is still among the franchise's all-time leaders in triples (19), walks (222), runs scored (258), doubles (87), extra-base hits (128) and hits (418).

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

The Next Big Leaguers: Cardinals' Kelly

A team-by-team look at future key contributors who starred in the 2016 Arizona Fall League

The Next Big Leaguers: Cardinals' Kelly

The Arizona Fall League always is loaded with talent, and it was stronger than usual in 2016. In the initial installment of MLBPipeline.com's "The Next Big Leaguers," which premieres Tuesday, we focused on five prospects: Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, Twins shortstop Nick Gordon, Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez, Red Sox infielder Yoan Moncada and Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres.

We could have spotlighted many more promising prospects if not limited by time constraints, and below we'll do exactly that.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards make changes to medical staff

ST. LOUIS -- Dr. George Paletta Jr., who served as the Cardinals' medical director and head team physician from 1998-2013, will return as the organization's head orthopedic physician in '17, the Cardinals announced on Tuesday.

Also returning to the medical staff is orthopedist Lyndon Gross, who, like Paletta, was let go when the Cardinals turned their player medical care over to Mercy Sports Medicine before the 2014 season.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Veteran Pena granted unconditional release

Catcher becomes free agent after Cardinals free up roster space for Cecil

Veteran Pena granted unconditional release

ST. LOUIS -- A week after designating Brayan Pena for assignment in order to create roster space for newly signed reliever Brett Cecil, the Cardinals granted the veteran catcher his unconditional release on Monday. The move immediately drops Pena into the free-agent pool.

The Cardinals, however, will be on the hook to pay out the rest of the $5 million contract they offered Pena last offseason. That deal was to be split over the 2016 and '17 seasons, though Pena's limited contributions in the first year of the contract prompted the Cardinals to cut ties now.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards' Winter Warm-Up tickets on sale now

Annual event will take place Jan. 14-16 at Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch

ST. LOUIS -- Tickets for the Cardinals' 21st annual Winter Warm-Up, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch from Jan. 14-16, are now available for purchase for $40 for fans 16 and older. Each ticket grants admission for all three days of the event.

Winter Warm-Up passes can be purchased at cardinals.com/winterwarmup, inside the Busch Stadium team store or at the Cardinals Clubhouse locations in the area. There are reduced-price tickets available for children ages 5 to 15 ($10). Children under the age of 5 may attend at no cost. Members of the military, police and fire department are also eligible to receive one free adult pass by presenting an active ID.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

5 steps Cardinals can take to catch Cubs

Adjustments, additions could help Redbirds spoil potential Chicago dynasty

5 steps Cardinals can take to catch Cubs

Is this the start of a Cubs dynasty? Not if the Cardinals can prevent it.

Given how a young team ran away from the competition in the National League Central last season, it sure looks like the Cubs could be on top for years. But don't forget who they have to beat en route to hanging up more banners at Wrigley Field.

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Phil Rogers is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards' McLaughlin aids special needs children in community

Play-by-play voice hosted 14th annual golf tournament in October

Cards' McLaughlin aids special needs children in community

ST. LOUIS -- The inspiration came around 15 years ago while driving around town making sales calls. Dan McLaughlin, early in his tenure as the Cardinals' primary television play-by-play voice, was sitting alongside a Fox Sports Midwest colleague who was fighting to hold back tears.

The man explained how his young daughter, Caroline, required special needs services that the family feared it could not fully afford. It was a reality that McLaughlin refused to accept, and one he boldly believed he could change.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Kelly, Bader among Top 25 Fall League prospects

Kelly, Bader among Top 25 Fall League prospects

While the most talented team doesn't always win the championship, it did in the Arizona Fall League. The Mesa Solar Sox wrapped up the East Division crown on the final day of the regular season before rolling to an easy victory in the AFL's one-game playoff for its first title since 2003.

Mesa had the league's deepest lineup, as evidenced by its seven hitters who rank among the AFL's 20 best prospects below. The Solar Sox had star power with outfielders Eloy Jimenez (Cubs) and Bradley Zimmer (Indians) and second baseman Ian Happ (Cubs), all of whom sit in the 20s on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list. They also had emerging talents such as shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang and outfielder Greg Allen, who have been overshadowed in a deep Indians system, and league home run leader Brian Anderson (Marlins No. 4 prospect), who had support for making our list.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards' efforts felt throughout local community

From fundraising events to player-driven initiatives, 2016 a philanthropic success

Cards' efforts felt throughout local community

ST. LOUIS -- Though the Cardinals fell short in their efforts to advance to the postseason for a sixth straight season, it was another banner year off the field in 2016 as the Cardinals made an impact on the St. Louis community.

No initiative raised more money for Cardinals Care, the organization's philanthropic arm, than the 50/50 raffle. That raffle, a fixture during home games, generated over $665,000, half of which benefited Cardinals Care directly. Among the initiatives those funds supported was the organization's Grant Program, which distributed over $300,000 to 145 non-profit groups that work with local children.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Smith makes final HOF bid on BBWAA ballot

Dominant closer held all-time saves record from 1993-2006

Smith makes final HOF bid on BBWAA ballot

CHICAGO -- It's closing time for Lee Smith. This year is the last in which the dominant right-handed pitcher will be eligible for the Hall of Fame through the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot.

Smith, who turns 59 on Dec. 4, finished his 18-year-old career with 478 saves, and he held the Major League record for career saves from 1993-2006. Trevor Hoffman then passed Smith's save total in '06, and finished his career with 601 saves, second only to Mariano Rivera's 652.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals welcome strong bullpen fit in Cecil

Team announces 4-year deal with reliever, who fills lefty void while offering flexibility in 'pen

Cardinals welcome strong bullpen fit in Cecil

A month and a half ago, when their 2016 campaign ended, the Cardinals didn't expect to make a big bullpen move this offseason. They certainly didn't plan to be players in the market for closers like Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen or Mark Melancon.

But there was general manager John Mozeliak at Busch Stadium on Monday afternoon, presenting a four-year contract -- and a No. 21 Cardinals jersey -- to a reliever. The Cards officially announced the signing of left-hander Brett Cecil, turning the loss of lefty Zach Duke into an opportunity to add an experienced, versatile arm.

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Adam Berry has covered baseball for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.