Last year, the St. Louis Cardinals locked in to a five year deal with Dexter Fowler. So far, it has not panned out in favor of the Birds.
At the time of signing, it felt more like a response to losing Jason Heyward than anything else. The Cubs took a Cardinal, so the St. Louis Cardinals took a Cub. I get that they are rivals, but it just felt foolish. But, whats done is done, so I digress.
Not that his bad play needs any justification, but let’s look at some numbers. As a Cardinal, Dexter Fowler is hitting .235 with a WAR of 0.4 according to Baseball Reference. Fangraphs WAR agrees. This is not exactly the ideal performance from a player making 14.5 million dollars a year.
This Is Not Selling
I want to be very clear here, I am NOT suggesting the the Cardinals go into fire sale mode. Though I might believe that is the right call, that is not the purpose of this. There is only one motive here, selling Fowler.
Why Sell Fowler?
Yes, he is not playing well. But my grievance is that he is blocking youth. Harrison Bader could step right into a full time starting role, or the St. Louis Cardinals number two prospect Tyler O’Neill could get the chance. The youth is the future, and this bad contract of Fowler is blocking some high quality young players.
If Fowler was playing to level he did in years prior, then this is a different story. Since he is not, it will make it exceedingly difficult to get back to the post season. With all of the talent grooming in the farm, as evident by the success in Memphis, there is no need to block them with an under-performing big contract.
This really has nothing to do with Fowler, other than it is his contract and play. But put any player in this situation, I would be saying the same thing. It is the contract that needs to go away.
Who Wants Fowler?
Probably not a lot of teams, if any. That being said, someone will take him at discount. The St. Louis Cardinals might hate the idea, but they just need to bite the bullet on this one, and sell him at a loss. Without a doubt they will have to eat some of the contract in any deal, but not asking a lot will soften that financial blow.
Fowler can bring postseason experience wherever he goes. That is plus. And maybe getting away from St. Louis can help his bat wake up. Regardless, now is the time to ship him off for some long shot prospects.
To be honest, it does not matter to me what the Cardinals would get back. It just matters that the contract is gone, and there is room for one of the exciting young guys to take on a full time role. Waiting on the contract to be up will aid in stalling the offense where it is at.
Are We Stuck?
Probably. It is not going to be easy to move Fowler. It might never feel like the right deal. But trust me, it is more than likely the right deal. When it comes down to it, there is far more good ramifications than bad when it comes to dumping this contract.
The deadline is approaching. This is not getting rid of Fowler for the sake of getting rid of him. Opening up room for the future of the St. Louis Cardinals is imperative to avoid a long rebuild. The young guys are ready and just need their chance.