Cardinals Sign Dexter Fowler

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Updated: December 9, 2016

The Cardinals got their center fielder today as they inked Dexter Fowler to a contract. Details aren’t available yet, but it looks to be a 5-year deal in the $16MM per season range totally around $80MM. This is a great deal for Fowler who had trouble securing a deal last offseason and was forced to accept a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. That worked out pretty well for him as he won the World Series with them and appeared on Saturday Night Live with David Ross and Anthony Rizzo. Now, he’s a Cardinal and $80MM richer.

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There will probably be Cubs fans out there who think that Fowler sold out and probably boo him for it next year at Wrigley. That will be said to see as the Cubs really had no intention of bringing him back and they barely did so last year, offering him a one-year deal at the start of spring training. Once the Cubs signed Jon Jay this offseason, you knew that was it for Dexter Fowler’s days in blue. You almost have to wonder if they’d rather have spent some of that Jason Heyward money on Fowler, but the past can’t be undone.

The good thing about Fowler is that he is remarkably consistent at the plate. His on base percentage has been over .346 every year of his career and once he gets on base he is pretty dangerous. He has decent pop and should hit ten or more homeruns for the Cards next year.

Year Age Tm Lg G 2B 3B HR SB BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2009 23 COL NL 135 29 10 4 27 .266 .363 .406 .770 94
2010 24 COL NL 132 20 14 6 13 .260 .347 .410 .757 92
2011 25 COL NL 125 35 15 5 12 .266 .363 .432 .796 103
2012 26 COL NL 143 18 11 13 12 .300 .389 .474 .863 119
2013 27 COL NL 119 18 3 12 19 .263 .369 .407 .776 102
2014 28 HOU AL 116 21 4 8 11 .276 .375 .399 .774 120
2015 29 CHC NL 156 29 8 17 20 .250 .346 .411 .757 109
2016 ★ 30 CHC NL 125 25 7 13 13 .276 .393 .447 .840 126
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/9/2016.

The move works for the Cardinals defense as well which was not very good in 2016. He’ll slot into center field which will move Randal Grichuk to his more natural fit in one of the corner spots. Fowler’s defense has been a question mark most of his career, but an adjustment with the Cubs last season showed much improvement. He was apparently playing too deep and moving him in a shade did wonders for the Cubs defense. Will this stick? Hard to say with different coaches in St. Louis, but the data is there if they want to use it.

The defense should be much improved for St. Louis regardless. With Fowler in center, Grichuk in left and Stephen Piscotty in right, that is a huge improvement on last year. Matt Holliday is now a Yankee where he will be a DH so that should tell you where his defense was at in 2016. With some better injury luck from their starters, a full season of Alex Reyes, another great season from Matt Carpenter, continued breakout play from Aledmys Diaz and more of that Cardinal magic; it’s hard not to see this team being right back in the thick of things in 2017.

Really, despite all the perceived issues with last year’s team they only missed the Wild Card by a single game last year. Cardinals fans have come to expect more from their teams, almost embarrassingly so, and Fowler should help them get back on track.

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