Dexter Fowler was one of the most successful leadoff hitters in recent Cubs history in his two years with the team. It’s not a coincidence that those years, 2015 and 2016, were the most successful of Joe Maddon’s tenure as manager of the Cubs.
Fowler hit .261/.367/.427 in his two years with the Cubs and batting in the leadoff spot, he had a .350 OBP in 2015 and that jumped to .393 in 2016. That prompted Maddon to coin a phrase for Dexter:
It was true. The Cubs have struggled to find a consistent leadoff hitter since Fowler departed for a five-year, $85 million contract with the Cardinals beginning with the 2017 season.
And now, Fowler and Maddon will get the band back together in Anaheim:
Here are more details on the deal:
Angels are sending the Cards a PTBN or cash considerations for Fowler.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) February 5, 2021
In other words, the Cards are dumping some salary.
Fowler is due to make $16.5M in 2021. Angels are getting cash too, so they aren't paying all of that.
Fowler turns 35 next month. His time in St. Louis has been marred by injuries and a couple of bad years. He’s no longer a base-stealing threat — he stole just one in 31 games in the shortened 2020 season (and he also missed a lot of time with injuries last year) and just eight in 150 games in 2019.
But he’ll provide some veteran leadership for Maddon in Anaheim and as we all know, Dexter is a great guy and will be good in the clubhouse for Joe. Fowler will find some other Cubs friends there on the coaching staff, including John Mallee and Tim Buss.
At this stage of his career, Fowler will serve as a mentor for young Angels outfielder Jo Adell and will serve most likely as a fourth outfielder behind Adell, Mike Trout and Justin Upton.
And it will certainly be easier for Cubs fans to root for him to do well now that he’s not a Cardinal anymore. This is the final year of Fowler’s five-year deal and it’s entirely possible this is his final year in the big leagues.
I wish Dex well with the Angels, and of course he’ll always and forever be a Cubs World Series champion.