Fowler stood in between Mike Matheny, the St. Louis manager who now has a new leadoff guy at the top of his lineup card, and John Mozeliak, the general manager who helped structure a five-year, $82.5 million contract that goes against The Cardinal Way.
Terms of the deal haven't been reported, but the Cardinals will have to give up a first-round pick for Fowler, who was tendered a qualifying offer by the Cubs. Fowler had a very strong May, too, hitting.295/.403/476 - and by the time the first two months of the season were over, he had hit six of his 13 total home runs.
The St. Louis Cardinals finally found a leader in Fowler.
The St. Louis Cardinals didn't make "splashing news" during the recent 2016 MLB Winter Meetings, which closed Thursday. But Theo Epstein's front office understandably wanted to get younger, upgrade defensively and preserve some financial flexibility for the future, planning to go with Albert Almora Jr. and ex-Cardinal Jon Jay in a center-field timeshare.
The 2017 season will see Fowler go up against his former team, however, and he'll do it often since they play in the same division. Once Ian Desmond had agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal with Colorado, the outfield market had a similar gap.
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He is a switch hitter with a.268 career batting average and a.366 career on base percentage.
The Cardinals' primary goal entering the offseason was to become more athletic and better defensively, according to ESPN - and they just have. He would get $50,000 for Division Series MVP if the award is created.
"I was like, 'Uh, you know, I don't know, '" Fowler said with a grin.
Fans in St. Louis didn't like that analysis, but it proved to be spot-on, as the Cubs followed their 97-win season in 2015 with 103 regular-season wins and one of the most dramatic World Series championship runs ever. What set Fowler's 2016 season apart was what he did before he got hurt on June 18 - a.290/.398/.483 line that in itself was only mildly reflective of Fowler's blistering start to the season. He would be the first batter the Cubs face as defending World Series champs if he leads off for the Cardinals on April 2, baseball's opening night.