If there’s one thing about Dexter Fowler that’s easy to love, it’s that infectious smile of his. His ‘You go, we go’ mentality is what made the 2016 Chicago Cubs click. If you want to know just how important Dex was to the Cubs in 2016 then get this, the Cubs went 10-17 with him on the disabled list last year. It was their worst stretch of the season.
And now the day we all knew would come is finally here. Dexter Fowler has officially signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ll let that settle in for a minute.
If ever there were a conflict for Cubs’ fans, it’s now. How can one of our most favorite players in a long time, a guy who is so contagious, so wonderful, now be a Cardinal? Well, they are the evil empire, so this is kinda what evil empires do, right? Que the Darth Vader music.
You have to be happy for Dexter, even if he is going to be a St. Louis Cardinal. Just last year, Dex passed on a 3-year, $33 million offer that was made to him by the Baltimore Orioles for the chance to return to the Cubs and prove his worth. It was a move that we don’t see often in this day and age by professional athletes, a move that could not have worked out better. If you ever needed to know anything about Dexter, that move, an ultimate show of faith in himself and the Cubs team, was really all you need to point to.
Dexter went on in 2016, bolstered by his incredibly red-hot start, to have one of the best seasons of his career. He slashed .276/.393/.447 and posted the second highest OPS – .840 – of his career. Add to that, his final touch, that towering lead-off home run in game 7 of the World Series. Let’s hope that’s the last World Series title he see.
The upside to this, if there is one, is that the Cubs will now get the Cardinals first round draft pick, the 19th overall pick in the June amateur draft (correction: the Cardinals will lose their draft pick and the Cubs will receive a different pick after the first round as compensation). Due to the changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, this is the final year that will happen. So, that sort of makes me happy. Hopefully the Cubs turn that pick into the best player they’ve ever seen.
You can bet that ESPN is quite pleased at this development too. The Cubs open the season on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball against the Cardinals in St. Louis at 7:35 PM CT. So yes, the first batter the Cubs will face as they set to defend their Championship Title will be Dexter Fowler. Man, it’s weird how things work out sometimes.