St. Louis Cardinals: Dexter Fowler makes it clear where he plays

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 13: Dexter Fowler
ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 13: Dexter Fowler /

The St. Louis Cardinals welcomed Dexter Fowler back to the lineup after a stint on the DL. He batted third and played center field.

The St. Louis Cardinals‘ outfield received a boost yesterday, as Dexter Fowler returned to the lineup last night. It is a rather surprising move by the team, considering the timing of bringing him back. However, the Cardinals are at the point where they need to win as many games as they can. Having Fowler in the lineup definitely increases that chance.

What might be the most surprising move last night was seeing Fowler hitting third in the lineup. Then again, maybe it was not so surprising. Before going on the DL, Fowler was absolutely raking. Just two weeks ago, Fowler was in the midst of hitting a home run in four straight games. I actually wrote about seeing Fowler in the three-hole, if he continued to hit well.

It will be interesting to see how moving to the three-hole changes Fowler’s approach at the plate. If Matt Carpenter and Tommy Pham can get on base in front of Fowler, it can create a very dangerous 1-2-3 for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Related Story: Dexter Fowler's power surge

While he made some noise in yesterday’s game with a solo home run, Fowler said something that caught my attention, and everyone else’s.

"Dexter Fowler said it doesn’t matter where he hits in lineup but on his position: “I play in centerfield. That’s what I came here to play.”— KMOXSports (@KMOXSports) July 8, 2017Dexter Fowler said it doesn’t matter where he hits in lineup but on his position: “I play in centerfield. That’s what I came here to play.”— KMOXSports (@KMOXSports) July 8, 2017"

Well, okay then.

Many have speculated where Fowler would end up in the defensive alignment for the St. Louis Cardinals. For good reason, the question of where he would play is merited. Tommy Pham has made some excellent plays in center field since Fowler went on the DL, most notably against Arizona and Washington. While the question is merited, so is Fowler’s position on where he plays.

However, some in Cardinal Nation don’t feel the same way. Fans decided to focus their efforts in calling out Fowler for not being a team player or being selfish. They believe Fowler should just roll over, and give up the position he is most comfortable with in order to accommodate Tommy Pham’s defensive ability.

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Think about what I just said. There are really people trying to make him feel bad about this? Give me a break.

I find it laughable that Cardinals fans would be upset with a guy speaking his mind, yet don’t mind when Tommy Pham criticizes the team. Is Tommy Pham not speaking his mind about everyone else’s play?

Don’t get me wrong. The criticism of the team is justified, but there can’t be double standards for anyone willing to express their feelings on a situation.

I’m sure Fowler has all the respect in the world for Tommy Pham, but center field is where Fowler plays.

The St. Louis Cardinals brought Dexter Fowler to St. Louis to play center field. That is the position he is most comfortable with, and I think it’s fair. What if Fowler feels like center field is the only position he makes the biggest impact?

This situation reminds me of Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte in Pittsburgh. McCutchen, the center fielder for the Pirates, was moved to left field in favor of Starling Marte’s defensive ability.

While it angered McCutchen, he made a sacrifice.

Unfortunately for the Pirates, Marte was caught with PED, and McCutchen moved back to center. The very next night, McCutchen found himself back in center, and made a fantastic running grab. The emotion of being back in center showed when he told the world this is my spot. That same kind of emotion and pride is in Dexter Fowler.

You shouldn’t be angry with Fowler. If he believes he can play center field and that is where he can best help the team, then I’m all for it. As I said before, he was brought to St. Louis for that specific reason. It would be a shame to force him to move. I would rather not see Fowler build some resentment to a team he just arrived to this season.

Next: Fowler activated, Martinez optioned

If the St. Louis Cardinals aren’t careful, the same thing could happen with Carson Kelly and Yadier Molina. Veteran players like to know where they are playing, and play in the position that is most comfortable with them. We should respect their wishes, and forget about calling them out for being selfish.