This news actually broke last night, but considering the trouble we ran into last season with Fowler, I though it best to make sure the ink was dried on this one. The Cardinals went after Fowler pretty hard and gave him an insane 5 year, 82.5MM contract with a no-trade clause.
A remarkably consistent hitter, Fowler has rarely strayed from the .271/.371/.428 slash line that he carries since the start of the 2011 season. He was even better last year, hitting .276/.393/.447 for the division-rival Cubs. He’s a reasonable bet for a dozen or more home runs per year, but is at most an average source of power. The real value comes in his ability to reach base, and what happens when he does. Fowler did reject a one-year, qualifying offer from the Cubs following the season, meaning the Cardinals will forfeit the No. 19 pick in the 2017 draft. The Cubs, in return, will receive a compensatory pick following the first round.
Fowler’s excellent on-base numbers are supported by a strong walk rate (14.3% last year) and palatable strikeout numbers (22.2% career, which is right at league average). While he has benefited from elevated BABIP numbers, that appears more a reflection of skill than luck. When he gets aboard, Fowler continues to add value with his legs. He’ll typically swipe between 12 and 20 bags a year, but more importantly draws very strong overall baserunning reviews (eighth in BsR last year).
Do Cubs fans now have to burn his jerseys in honor of the “Heyward tradition“?