Angels Acquire Dexter Fowler from Cardinalsby B.J. Martin February 5, 2021 0 comments
The Los Angeles Angels added outfielder Dexter Fowler Thursday evening, acquiring the 34-year-old switch-hitter and cash from the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later. The cash provided the Angels in the deal accounting for the majority of Fowler’s remaining contract that ends following this coming season. The Cardinals will reportedly pay $12.75 million of Fowler’s 2021 contract, leaving the Angels responsible for paying the veteran only $1.75 million.
Another Angels Acquisition
Fowler is the third acquisition this week by Angels GM Perry Minasian following Monday’s trade for Orioles starting pitcher Alex Cobb and Wednesday’s claim of second baseman Robel Garcia from the Mets. Fowler joins fellow recently acquired Cobb, Jose Quintana, Raisel Iglesias, Alex Claudio, Kurt Suzuki, and Jose Iglesias as players that are only contractually committed through this coming season. The Angels currently have only Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Justin Upton extended to contracts beyond 2021.
The 13-year veteran joins Trout, Upton, and top prospects Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh in the mix for outfield duties heading into Spring Training camp. Manager Joe Maddon has expressed his desire to see both Adell and Marsh see additional development time in the minor leagues before taking over corner outfield spots in the next two seasons. Fowler could provide the organization a starting right fielder until Adell or Marsh is ready to assume that role later this season. Adell struggled in his 2020 rookie season and Marsh has yet to appear above Double-A level as a result of the canceled minor league season last year.
Fowler, who turns 35 prior to Opening Day, was an All-Star for Maddon’s 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs hitting .276 that season including .333 performance in the NLCS that postseason. Fowler has earned $98 million dollars in his career thanks to his last two large contracts with the Cubs and Cardinals. While most would say Fowler lived up to the two-year contract with the Cubs, the same could not be said for the current five-year, $82.5 million contract signed in St. Louis prior to the 2017 season. Fowler hit an underwhelming .233 with 49 home runs, and 177 runs batted in the first four years of that deal. The Angels will hope to see that performance improve in the reunion with his former skipper and change of scenery at the Big A.
The Atlanta native joins Cobb, Quintana, and Garcia as former Maddon managed players to reunite with their former field general again this spring. Fowler experienced two very productive seasons playing for Maddon in Chicago compiling .261/.367/.427 batting slash with 30 home runs and 33 stolen bases during those campaigns. Fowler’s been a .259 hitter with 1,301 hits, 253 doubles, 82 triples, 127 home runs, and 148 stolen bases since debuting for the Colorado Rockies in 2008. He finished eighth in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2009 and led the league with 14 triples in 2010. Fowler stole as many as 27 bases in a season but has not reached double-digits in the category since 2016.
Fowler has struggled against left-handed pitching the past couple of seasons and could potentially be complemented in a platoon in right field with Taylor Ward. The younger Ward hit .286 against left-handed starting pitching last season and his career average is 40 points higher versus southpaws. With less than two weeks until players report to Tempe, it would not be a surprise to see Los Angeles add more depth through minor league contracts and non-roster invitations. The Angels are scheduled to open their Cactus League spring training schedule on February 27th against the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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