The Los Angeles Angels have acquired OF Dexter Fowler and cash from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
This is definitely an interesting deal for both sides, and while there are reasons to hate this trade for both Angels and Cardinals fans, but the Angels make out fine here. Entering the final season of the five year deal he signed with St. Louis, Fowler was set to earn $14.5 million. The Cardinals will eat up a significant portion of that salary here, making the deal more manageable for Los Angeles. If you look at our Angels in the Outfield, Mike Trout and Justin Upton are still there, but top prospects Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh were both in competition for a role. By acquiring Fowler, the Angels get a serviceable veteran who only blocks Adell and Marsh for one year, and lets the Angels sent Adell back to the minors, where he should spend more time after he finished with a -1.3 WAR in 2020. If either Adell or Marsh rake at AAA or in Spring Training, that is no problem. The Angels would easily be fine with one of them taking over for Fowler, as long as they produce. Fowler's greatest strength offensively is his ability to draw walks, but he does not hit the ball hard, with an average exit velocity of 84.5 mph last year.
Fowler, who will be 35 by Opening Day, hit four home runs with one stolen base, a .233 average and an OPS of .706 in 101 Plate Appearances for the Cardinals in 2020. In his MLB career for St. Louis, the Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros, Fowler has hit 127 home runs with 148 stolen bases, a .259 average and an OPS of .776 in 5881 Plate Appearances.
With this trade, the Cardinals are putting a lot of confidence in an unproven outfield. With Fowler gone, the projected outfield next year will consist of Harrison Bader and Tyler O'Neill, who both have a lot to prove offensively, and promising 22 year old Dylan Carlson, with Austin Dean and Lane Thomas as the extras. That is not great. If the Cardinals need outfield help, they could move the versatile infielder Tommy Edman to right field, and play Matt Carpenter at second base in the absence of the recently departed Kolten Wong. The reason for this trade and the reason for Carpenter's position switch are the same. If you haven't heard, the Cardinals acquired star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who was teammates with Fowler in Colorado. This frees up some money for the Cardinals to work with if they want to make more additions in the coming weeks.