Free agent center fielder Dexter Fowler is now with the St. Louis Cardinals, and it doesn’t seem to have a huge affect on the New York Mets.After helping the Chicago Cubs win their first World Series title in 108 years, free agent center fielder Dexter Fowler signed with the Cubs biggest rivals: the St. Louis Cardinals.
According to FOX Sports, who first reported the news, the deal is for five years and is worth $82.5 million. Fowler has a full no-trade clause and will get a $10 million signing bonus, which will be paid in $1 million installments every July and October for the next five years. Therefore, his annual salary will be $15.5 million.
”It was an honor just to be considered to be in the Cardinals organization,” Fowler said to FOX Sports. “You play against the Cardinals, I’ve been playing against them for eight years now. And they always come out fighting. Always fighting.”
Fowler became a free agent for the second year in a row after turning down his mutual option with the Cubs.
“And then being with a rival,” said Fowler, “being the Cubs however many times we play them a year, you see them and – it’s always good a winning team wants you.”
The New York Mets didn’t show much interest in Fowler, but he could have been an option for them if they hadn’t re-signed star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Since resigning Cespedes, they definitively didn’t need Fowler, and they may not have even had the room on the payroll for him. However, the Mets may have to go through Fowler and the Cardinals next postseason in order to reach the World Series.
In 2016, Fowler hit .276 with 13 home runs, and had an on-base percentage of .393, a career best. He also made the All-Star Game for the first time in his career.
In the Cardinals’ outfield and lineup, Fowler’s presence will likely result in Randal Grichuk moving to left field and current leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter becoming the number three hitter, according to ESPN.
The Cardinals’ goals this offseason were to become more athletic and better defensively, and Fowler should make that wish come true as he’s an above average center fielder.