The Cardinals entered the offseason needing a prototypical leadoff man and center fielder. Free agent Dexter Fowler made too much sense, and the Cardinals held a news conference Friday to announce their five-year, $82.5 million pact with the All-Star.
This probably looks pretty odd to most fans:
General manager Jon Mozeliak made it clear Fowler was the Cards' No. 1 target. And why not?
Fowler was the man who made the World Series champion Cubs go last season. He boasted a .393 on-base percentage (sixth best in the NL) with 25 doubles, seven triples, 13 homers, 13 steals and 84 runs in 125 games. He missed time because of a hamstring injury and the Cubs' biggest struggles came when he was on the shelf.
Defensively, Fowler played much deeper than he had in years past, and the advanced metrics showed a totally different player. He went from negative-12 defensive runs saved in 2015 to plus-one in 2016.
With Fowler on board, the Cardinals' lineup looks something like this:
"They're still my boys," Fowler said of his former teammates, "but we're out here to win."
Looks like the feeling is mutual:
The MLB season opens April 2. The nationally televised Sunday night game? Cubs at Cardinals. Fowler will be leading off against his former team.
This is all kinds of fun, no?