Dec. 10, 2016
Career Year Gets Dexter Fowler Contract with St. Louis Cardinals
Coming off a career year with the Chicago Cubs where he walked away with a World Series ring at the end of it all, Dexter Fowler has gotten himself a near contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Or at least this is the case if Fowler passes his physical.
For the second straight year an outfielder of prominence will go from one National League Central rival to the other. Last winter it was Jason Heyward signing a mega-deal with the Cubs to fill this quota. This offseason it’s a lesser deal for Fowler, but still an important one.
The Cubs barely made an effort in keeping Fowler. Other than issuing the qualifying offer, the Cubs seemed to have very little intent on bringing Fowler back. A big reason for this was a lack of playing time for all those deserving. The Cubs’ outfield is perfectly capable without Fowler. Meanwhile, the Cardinals needed some big repairs to their outfield with the most obvious one being the desire for a legitimate center fielder to help push Randal Grichuk into left field where he probably belonged all along.
Before signing Fowler, the Cardinals did their homework. Trades for Charlie Blackmon, Adam Eaton, and Marcell Ozuna highlighted possibilities. Instead, they went with Fowler in free agency and for some really good reasons.
Fowler will now become the Cardinals’ leadoff hitter. Had he stayed healthy in 2016, he would have most certainly set career highs even topping what he did in his earlier days with the Colorado Rockies. This would’ve made him a tougher get for St. Louis so they should be thankful that for all the good Fowler did that he did miss some time. Not exactly a huge stolen base threat, Fowler does have a 162 game average of 19. More importantly for a leadoff man, Fowler gets on base a lot. His .393 OBP last season was near the top of the MLB and a new best for a guy who has consistently picked up hits and walked regularly. It’s hard to really claim more than just a small handful of hitters are better in the leadoff spot than Fowler. He is easily among the best options any team can have at the top of their lineup.
The Cardinals, and their lack of speed, will add a good weapon to the roster. Rather than force Matt Carpenter into doing everything from playing first base to hitting out-of-place at number one, the Cardinals did the right thing and plugged in a missing part.