Dexter Fowler, who turns 31 next March, is moving on. His two seasons in Chicagoa��incidentally the two best of his careera��resulted in one championship. For that, and for all his productiona��hell even for that gosh darn infectious smile of his, even the most irrational of Cubs fans have no reason to dislike Fowler.
Even if he’s moving onto St. Louis, which became official this past Friday.
You’ve heard it all weekend, but last season, Fowlera��say it with me!a��bet on himself, spurning the Orioles and re-upping with the Cubs on a one-year deal worth $8 million. Which, another thing: Fowler has never earned more than $9.5 million (2015) in a single season. Even after his most valuable year according to Fangraphs (3.3 fWAR), he would take a slight pay cut! Fast forward one year later, and it’s safe to say everybody won.
Fowler has a ring, as do the Cubs. And after slashing .276/.393/.447 (.840 OPS)a��aiding what would be good for 4.7 fWAR this time arounda��Fowler would get paid. And it’s not just the financial security, a cool $82.5 million over the next five seasons. A full no-trade clause rests within the deal as well, meaning regardless of how Fowler ages in St. Louis (he’ll be 35 once the deal concludes), it’s likely he’ll be there for the duration of ita��for better or worse.
For the next five years, he won’t have to worry about having to pack up and leave at a moment’s notice. For the next five years, he gets to play for the Cardinals, a club you would probably label as being relatively successful throughout the years. Oh yeah, I suppose that if it’s not clear by now, the Cardinals are getting a pretty good player, too. See? Everybody wins.
Dexter Fowler’s rise is a fun story, considering he was a 14th-round draft choice back in 2004. But from 2007 through 2009 as he tore through the minor leagues, Baseball America would rank him in their top 100 list ahead of each season, going as high as No. 15 (2009). For the next several years Fowler would call Coors Field home, slashing .270/.365/.423/.788 but compiling a combined fWAR of just eight (8) over parts of six seasons along the way. Despite being limited to just 116 games, his line would show more of the same for Houston one season later. And finally of course, Chicago.
Last week we talked about Matt Holliday’s consistency in this space, and while Fowler hasn’t ever offered quite the bat Holliday has over the past 13 years, there’s also no doubting his consistency. He’ll make contact, get on base plenty, won’t be a detriment defensively, and even flash the occasional power. Double-digit home runs and steals, though on the lower end, is just part of the game.
Number one on St. Louis’ offseason agenda was addressing their outfield, and they couldn’t have done a better job through free agency than Fowler. And here we are. He trades his Cubbie blue for Cardinal red; the ultimate success of last season for, well, probably more sustained success. A one-year deal for five years of security. And best of all a major payday, every single cent of which he’s earned.