Dexter Fowler is staying in the National League Central, but not with the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
The 30-year-old Fowler has reportedly agreed to a five-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals that will be worth $82.5 million.
The Cardinals have a press conference currently scheduled for 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday to formally announce the deal with Fowler in attendance.
St. Louis reportedly attempted to trade for a center fielder before leaving the winter meetings in Washington D.C. on Thursday. The signing of Fowler shows just how far those trade talks ended up advancing, as ESPN is reporting that the Cardinals didn’t have an overflowing supply of high-end prospects.
Randal Grichuk will likely shift over to left field to help accommodate Fowler, while first baseman/third baseman Matt Carpenter will move down from the leadoff spot to the third spot in the lineup to also accommodate Fowler’s arrival.
Fowler, who made $13 million last season after re-signing with the Cubs, declined his $9 million option for the 2017 season and the $17.2 million qualifying offer Chicago extended to him in November. If his contract with the Cardinals is worth $90 million over five years, Fowler will make an average of $18 million per year.
Fowler batted .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases as Joe Maddon‘s leadoff hitter in 2016. That .393 on-base percentage was good for 11th in all of baseball, and 6th in the National League.
Last off-season, the Cubs signed away outfielder Jason Heyward and veteran right-handed pitcher John Lackey away from their division rival Cardinals. The two teams will get the 2017 MLB season started on April 2nd.
[twitter-follow screen_name='tony_montalto' show_count='yes']