During the recent MLB Winter Meetings, news from the Cardinals camp were possible trades, with tidbits of the organization talking with representatives of free agent centerfielder Dexter Fowler. The last day, this past Thursday, still nothing in stone that the Cardinals had accomplished. However, late in the day, rumors began to fly. Literally. Fowler was on his way to St. Louis. Save taking his physical, the Cardinals had their centerfielder for 2017 and beyond. Friday morning the news was confirmed. With that infectious smile, Dexter Fowler sat at the press table with St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and GM John Mozeliak. He was introduced to the press core; and, to the millions watching, as the press conference began soon after 10 a.m. (CST). Mozeliak stated, the organization had signed Fowler as their centerfielder. But, not quite the best kept secret as happens in the MLB with such news.
Cardinals sign Dexter Fowler for five years at $82.5 MM with a no trade clause. He will wear the #25 in honor of Barry Bonds. (AP photo/Jeff Roberson)
I have watched Fowler that last two seasons while he was with the Chicago Cubs. Prior to those years, I was unfamiliar with him; or, his performance, as he began his major league career with the Colorado Rockies in 2008. From the Chicago northenders we heard news of Anthony Rizzo, 30-30 Club in 2015. The arrival of their extraordinary prospect Kris Bryant. But, very little about their centerfielder Dexter Fowler. Even though not an abundance of flash, he was solid in the field with agility and speed. He brought a bat to the plate and used that speed around the bags. He was one I admired from afar - he being a Cubs and, myself, being a Cardinals fan. And allowing his his free agency in the off-season of 2015, was perplexing to me. However, they did resign him for one more season. He declined the QO offering this offseason by the Cubs, and onto the 2017 free agent list. Personally, I'm happy with the Cubs decision. The Cardinals were fortunate enough to see this union as a reality.
In my own observation, he always had this abundance of energy. Not only on the field, but coming from his person. On the field, one could see, Fowler loved playing the game and was having fun "doing his job", but with a great deal of concentration, determination and accomplishment. No, he is not a Golden Glover or a Silver Slugger; but, a solid no-nonsense player when on the field. In 2016, holding a .393 OBP, he was .479 in his first inning at bat. He was lead-off the past two seasons with Chicago. A big plus, his leadership and his willingness to be a part of the Cardinals core of leaders, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina. With his personal energy, I foresee the 30 year old Fowler quickly becoming a cornerstone for the club with his positives for our younger players, on and off the field.
I believe Fowler is just as happy (genuinely) to be with the Cardinals as fans are to have him with our team which resides along the Mighty Mississippi.
He will not wear his usual #24, as that was worn by former Cardinals Whitey Herzog and has been retired. Therefore, he chose #25 in honor of his favorite, Barry Bonds. The Cardinals and Fowler inked the 5 Yr/$82.5 MM contact with a blanketed no-trade clause. Yes, the Cardinals organization opened up their checkbook to achieve their goal. I, for one among millions of Cardinals fans, am very happy they did.
Welcome, Dexter Fowler ~ You have just added a great dimension to our Cardinals. I look forward to watching you in 162 games in 2017; and, beyond. Oh, by the way, I feel, you do look far better in Cardinals Red vs. Cubs Blue. Congratulations, and, I'm very excited you are with our team bringing your leadership for all. I consider this a "win-win" situation.
The St. Louis Cardinals didn't make "splashing news" during the recent 2016 MLB Winter Meetings, which closed Thursday. However, Thursday evening, news was announced that indeed the Cardinals were going to sign former Chicago Cubs centerfielder Dexter Fowler. He left his hometown Atlanta to travel to St. Louis to have his physical today; then, the deal will be inked by both parties.
Dexter Fowler, centerfielder for the Cubs and on the 2016 World Series Champions team was offered the QO and declined putting him on the 2017 list of free agents.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
As of last night contract details had not been revealed. In my own baseball opinion, I expect Fowler's contract will be in the ballpark of $80 MM(+)/5 Yr range. The 30 year old will now be wearing the "Birds on the Bat" uniform. Two of his former teammates, Jason Heyward and John Lackey, did the switch in 2015, Cardinals to Cubs. Now, Fowler will head south to the city along the Mighty Mississippi; and, closer to his home in Atlanta.
As the Cardinals gained two first round picks in 2015 with the Cubs signing both Heyward and Lackey, they will lose one by signing Fowler. For me, that's okay.
Some in Cardinals Nation, even though the organization "opened up their checkbook" to get the deal done, will still be disgruntled with the signing. Those declared "fans" will find fault no matter the situation. For the most part, I believe the majority of our fan base will be pleased and excited to see Fowler in centerfield. Throughout this off-season into the winter meetings, Fowler has been a name linked with the Cardinals. I'm not surprised GM John Mozeliak was able to get the deal done. Now, to put it in stone today. I see no reason for Fowler not to pass his physical.
I'm presuming the official news will be announced by the Cardinals late this morning or early this afternoon.
FOWLER TO FACE HIS FORMER TEAM
Facing his old team won't take long. 2017 Opening Day Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals, Sunday Night Baseball, April 2. He will make his debut as a Cardinals and more than likely have to face Cubs starter Jon Lester. In his seven year major league history, prior to the Cubs, with the Colorado Rockies (6) and Houston Astros (1), he never faced Lester. He, at that time in his career, pitched for the Boston Red Sox. Lester pitching against the Cardinals has had his highs and lows. The Cardinals have been able to rattle him; so, will Fowler join in that venture? Paper numbers from last season, Fowler hit .405 BA at Busch Stadium. Of course, that was against his soon to be new team's pitchers. The last he faced the Cubs pitching was in 2013 while with the Rockies. He had 18 at-bats with four hits for 1 HR/1 2-B/1-3B/4 RBI for a .556 SLG/.842 OPS. Will be interesting to see what transpires in 2017.
"Fowler, who turns 31 in March, had a .393 on-base percentage for the Cubs in 2016, hitting 13 homers and stealing 13 bases in 125 games and earning his first All-Star Game selection. He excelled in the National League Championship Series, batting .333 and scoring six runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He homered twice in the World Series, including a leadoff blast in the Cubs’ Game 7 victory." (USA Today)
May I be one of the first to say ~ Welcome aboard, Dexter Fowler. Happy you will be a Cardinals.
The 2016 MLB Winter Meetings are moving on into day three. Rumors were flying yesterday regarding the St. Louis Cardinals. Offer to free agent centerfielder Dexter Fowler, $60 MM for four years. Or, was that the Toronto Blue Jays that made the offer first. All I know is, the two teams are suitors for Fowler. Reportedly, some feel Fowler would pay less tax in Missouri versus Canada; and, he'd be closer to his hometown, Atlanta.
Cardinals and Royals in speculated trade talks for centerfielder Lorenzo Cain.
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
There were reports spreading like wildfire about Cardinals-Royals "trade" talks for centerfielder CF Lorenzo Cain, closer Wade Davis and SS Alcides Escobar. To KC would be Kolten Wong, Trevor Rosenthal, Jhonny Peralta, and Harrison Bader. Since that report, supposedly the Cubs are in serious talks to bring Davis to Chicago, giving up [possible] their prospect 2B Ian Happ to make the deal. Happ, who is on the top 100 prospects list, was acquired as a first round pick in 2015.
Cardinals have seen much improvement from their top prospect centerfielder Harrison Bader. To deal him would be a a big concession for the Cardinals to land the deal. Bader was a third round pick in the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Kolten Wong, second baseman for the Cardinals, is a very solid player in the field.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
However, reports of the Cardinals preferable want to "build around 2B Kolten Wong". I love my Cardinals, but this fascination the organization has for Wong is a head scratcher to me. We did see some maturity from the 26 year old after he returned from a short stint in Memphis Triple-A last season to "find his bat". Which a heavy bat never really developed in 2016. However, prior to being sent down, he held a .222 BA; after his return, he closed the season with a .240 average. Some improvement, but with few games played, he only had five home runs and 23 RBI/.327 OBP. His strength is in the field. He is a very aggressive second baseman, hands down. To the point of getting in the way of others on the field to make a play. Even though the Cardinals had so much faith in him to ink him a 5 Yr/$25.5 MM deal last spring, in my opinion - trade him. The change of scenery may just do him good. The price is not over the top for the Royals; and, they would be getting a strong second baseman with energy. Along with prospect Bader.
So, in Day Three of the MLB Winter Meetings, what will transpire for the Cardinals. Will a deal be concreted for Fowler? Or, will the Cardinals be bold and bring on board Cain? As Cardinals GM John Mozeliak does so well - talks 'around' what the plan actually is. Statements made, "looking to improve"; but, how serious is he in that venture. Whatever may transpire, I feel the news should be a "POW" - "Shake and Bake" type of decision for the Cardinals team. Bring some new blood in to truly spark the offense and solidify the defense. My hope is they truly don't lessen their decision solely based on Kolten Wong.