What is wrong with Dexter Fowler and what should be done?

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  • #55924
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    Cardinals2016
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    Ortiz on Fowler

    They’re pretty much stuck with him. I cannot imagine his trade value is very high, especially when you consider that Harrison Bader might be a better option in right field.”

    #55930
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    gscottar
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    Fowler is becoming our version of Jacoby Ellsbury. An OF with diminishing skills who is untradeable. He is destined to be our 4th or 5th OF for most of his remaining time in St. Louis.

    #55992
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    Bob Reed
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    What’s wrong is that he might be washed up. His defense has never been good, so if he can’t post an above-average batting line, he has no value to a playoff contender — particularly one with outfield depth in both the majors and Triple-A.

    What should be done with 32-year-old Dexter Fowler, who has 3.5 years and roughly $60M left on his contract? Well, what did ace GM Dave Dombrowski do last year with 30-year-old Pablo Sandoval, with 2.5 years and $50M left on his contract, when he realized that Sandoval was now a replacement=level player?

    Dombrowski wisely got rid of him, upgrading the team’s talent base and eliminating a major distraction.

    All things considered (batting, baserunning, glovework) Harrison Bader is almost certainly a better current MLB outfielder than Dexter Fowler — and the same could also be true of Jose Martinez and Tyler O’Neill, and even Yairo Munoz and Oscar Mercado.

    Granted, I say all this from a position of extreme bias, as I despised the Fowler signing from the start. In fact I hated it so much that I immediately gave up on both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and said so, and haven’t posted at this site since. But how could I pass up this comment thread?

    Get Fowler, Holland, and Mabry out of the organization, and only good things will follow.

    #56006
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    PugsleyAddams
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    Sweet post Bobby! You’ve been terribly missed!

    #56007
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    858booyah
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    Except we know how this team roles. If he’s destined to be a 4th outfielder then so be it. The ownership will try and get value out of this contract they’ve handcuffed themselves to.

    What we can hope for is a Melvin Upton Jr. revival for a season and he has some value and we dump him off to a team who will need him and if he accepts we’ll eat most of the contract.

    Or the most likely is about midway through year 4 we’ll just let him go.

    #56030
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    14NyquisT
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    Bobby, you brought up the distraction factor. Fowler must be the elephant in the dugout. Negative vibes.

    #56035
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    gscottar
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    The Red Sox operate under a different business model than the Cardinals do. Between Pablo Sandoval, Rusney Castillo, and Hanley Ramirez the Sox are spending over $80M for players to go away and they are way over the luxury tax. The Cardinals would never do that although it would be tempting with Fowler, Cecil, Gregerson, and Holland.

    At this point if they could get a team to take Fowler and 75% of his salary for a class A player they might do it.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Avatar gscottar.
    #56091
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    Bob Reed
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    Thanks for the kind words, Pugs!

    Booyah: I actually do think they’ll get rid of Fowler by this time next year, via trade or outright release. He’s blocking waaay too many other viable outfield options, and it’s only going to get more so.

    Agreed, Nyquis. To me the distraction factor — and it’s rather similar with Holland — is nearly as counterproductive as the godawful performances. Solely due to their contracts, Fowler and Holland have become priorities in an odd sense. The club must keep them, therefore the manager MUST use them, and so must mentally contort himself into a position where using them isn’t completely insane.

    But look at the secondary price that’s paid, when you keep bad players/pitchers around. You wind up under-using better pinch-hitters for instance, and OVERusing better relief arms. The terribleness and forced 25-man rostering of Cecil, Holland, and Gregerson has indirectly contributed to the unacceptable 86-inning pace of Jordan Hicks. (But don’t worry, he’ll blow his 105-MPH arm out long before he gets to 86 innings.)

    The Cards do have to be more prudent with their dough than the Red Sox, that’s true 100%. But at this point in time the grotesque choice is pretty straightforward: the Cards can pay Dexter Fowler to be awful in St. Louis, or pay him to be awful for someone else. (Same with the wretched relief trio of Holland, Gregerson, and Cecil.)

    The most depressing thing of this whole discussion, the really serious underlying problem, is what I wrote at another website earlier this afternoon. I am definitely vain enough to plagiarize myself, so here goes:

    Resolved: Previously borderline brilliant St. Louis front office broke their brains when the Cards lost to the Cubs in the 2015 playoffs.

    Since then, one bad move after another. Some seemed to make good sense at the time, while others were questionable or plain stupid from the get-go.
    Leake, Cecil, Fowler, Ozuna, Gregerson, Holland, the firing of Lilliquist, the refusal to reassign Mabry to less mentally taxing responsibilities, rushing an A-Ball pitcher to the majors and placing him in the most physically precarious spot possible — high leverage relief.
    Yes, there’s also Mikolas and Bud Norris. Maybe one or two other very minor moves. But on balance, The Horror.

    #56092
    stlcard25
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    Hi Bob! Nice to see you here.

    I never hated the Fowler deal, as it was the natural conclusion to the couple year run that started with the tragic loss of Oscar Taveras and ended with the Cubs winning the Series.

    Now, perhaps you’re right in that they “lost their minds” but I also think they knew they didn’t have the horses to keep up with the Cubs and also knew that fans wouldn’t accept a true rebuild. Thus they went through a “soft rebuild” with roster turnover, doing smaller deals that might pay off and push the team from mid 80s to low 90s wins and into the division hunt. Obviously they didn’t work out but even now, I don’t believe the team is handcuffed by the money they spent.

    Cecil arguably is the worst of the entire bunch. Leake did what he was signed to do…be average and nothing more. They traded him and most of his salary and are not too much worse for the wear. I’d be willing to bet a lot that Ozuna will end up worth the trade. At worst, no one we gave up will be something great, IMO. The others are relievers and one year deals that ultimately aren’t killers and the Mikolas signing alone more than covers all of those minor errors, as far as I’m concerned.

    The main point for me, I guess, is that the team is still positioned to make a couple moves in the next 12 months and jump into the middle of the race. Even now, they’re on pace for a 90 win season. So…I’m not too bummed. Remember all those upper 90s win+ juggernauts in the early 2000s that didn’t win the Series, only to have two of the worst 5 teams between 2000-2015 win titles? Baseball is funny sometimes.

    #56237
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    14NyquisT
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    This is a Q&A on the Goold chat from Monday. I found it interesting and insightful.

    Bader clearly gives the team a better chance to win than Fowler but Fowler has to be paid. What should the manager do with this increasingly volatile situation?

    This is becoming a volatile situation, for sure. It’s a bind for team and for players alike. In the past, I’ve seen such things handled deftly by a manager and poorly. Look back to how the team handled Jhonny Peralta — while understanding he was in the final year of his contract. He got a chance. He got a part-time role. He got moved off the roster. Had he excelled in that part-time role, he likely would have stayed around for awhile. Shoving a veteran aside, especially one not too far removed from successful performance, is dicey. Someone asked earlier about the Cardinals trouble with free agents — well free agents would see that. Free agents would notice that they are disposable and they will get paid but if they get into trouble or don’t perform, the Cardinals patience is limited. Optics matter. So, what you see is something of a platoon. What you see is targeted starts for the veteran, here matchups are favorable, and then you see the veteran given more as he performs, and the allocation of playing time shift around that. Fowler gets a good matchup and goes 3-for-4, then he gets the start against a righthanded pitcher if it’s the next day. And then see where that goes. We’re in the midst of that right now. If that doesn’t help, then bench role. That’s when it becomes volatile, and the Cardinals have to start talking about seeing if he would go elsewhere and how to make that happen. It’s more likely that Fowler gets a Leake-like departure vs. a Peralta-like one.
    by Derrick Goold 7:50 PM yesterday

    #56254
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    Cardinals2016
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    If free agents won’t come to St. Louis because we play rookies that are outperforming free agents with bloated contracts, we probably don’t want those free agents anyway.

    #56304
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    14NyquisT
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    Finally….. finally, something for die-hard Card fans. A mere 26.00 tee that distinguishes you as a true believer in the magical wonders of the team they call the Cardinals.

    https://breakingt.com/collections/mlb/products/i-will-get-a-hit?

    #56306
    stlcard25
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    I do think that Dexter has something left in the tank, and he’ll show it this season. I also think that he will eventually be traded, a la Leake, to a situation of his liking.

    Right now, the lack of any decent LH hitting options is making him almost essential to keep around. Carpenter is fading a bit, Wong looks like a classic change of scenery piece, and Garcia is a pure bench guy. Apart from those guys, we have no lefties at the big league level and no one of any repute even on the horizon in the pipeline. It’s pretty bleak. Any good looking free agents this coming offseason besides Harper that hit from the left side?

    That’s why you’re almost stuck with Dex in the hopes he can even get to the 115-120 wRC+ guy from last year. The lineup needs the balance.

    #56311
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    Bw52
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    What difference does it make if Fowler can be a LH bat? He might be somewhat better from the left side but he still is a blackhole offensively ,defensively and he doesnt even steal bases anymore.So what the hell is he good for? a 16 million dollar cheerleader /bench bat? No damn way.I dont care if Cards have to eat 50% of his salary…he needs to be traded somewhere else.Addition by subtraction.
    You simply don`t let a obviously very poor playing veteran block talented younger,cheaper players who can probably equal or surpass the production from the fading overpaid albatross (Fowler).

    #56313
    stlcard25
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    It’s simply not going to happen right now. Right or wrong (I happen to think right), you don’t throw away guys you signed less than two years ago for 1/3 of a bad season. Thankfully, GMs don’t think like we do because they wouldn’t run a successful team if they did.

    Also, Fowler will be better against righties than any of the young, cheap, talented crowd. He knows he’s not likely to play out the string with the Cards but let’s stop pretending that he’s suddenly a legitimately below replacement player all of a sudden that brings nothing to the table.

    #56315
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    gscottar
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    Moustakas is LH.

    #56325
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    gmaske71
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    I haven’t studied this but I wonder if the teams that are successful in MLB are those most willing to write off failed free agent signings either by benching or trading the player:

    1) Teams benefit from free agent signings SOME OF THE TIME. Sometimes they benefit hugely. At other times these signings are debacles. I have no idea what the proportion of good and bad signings is.

    2) Most teams feel pressured to play their bad but high priced free agents, players who almost always are blocking better young talent.

    3) The most successful franchises write off their free agent mistakes as the cost of doing business. (See gscottar, above) Then they either bench the player and in effect eat his salary, or they trade him and really eat his salary.

    4) No successful MLB franchise can expect to remain competitive while playing high-paid free agents over better young players. Bader>Fowler.

    #56326
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    NJ315
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    Fowler’s sparkling .559 OPS must give us all hope of better things to come.

    #56328
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    Cardinals2016
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    Right now, the lack of any decent LH hitting options is making him almost essential to keep around.

    If right handed hitters can hit right handed pitchers better than Fowler can, then this point is moot.

    Wong looks like a classic change of scenery piece

    Well, that should have happened as soon as he started saying he should be lead off hitter, and he should be starting 2B based on the size of his contract…

    Apart from those guys, we have no lefties at the big league level and no one of any repute even on the horizon in the pipeline.

    I am less concerned about left-handed hitters than team chemistry and desire to win. Desire to win should be seen by accepting demotions when you are clearly being outplayed.

    That’s why you’re almost stuck with Dex in the hopes he can even get to the 115-120 wRC+ guy from last year.

    Even with that, he was one of the five worst defensive outfielders in all of baseball last year. He was brought in here to increase the athleticism of our outfield. He is not delivering what he sold to the team, therefore, he should be removed from the starting lineup.

    you don’t throw away guys you signed less than two years ago for 1/3 of a bad season.

    Defensively, it’s been 1 1/3 seasons. Offensively, he had a bad 40+% of the year last year, and a bad 40+% so far this year. Overall, he is just bad.

    I agree, he won’t be traded during the season, and we are probably going to have to sweeten the deal to get anybody to take his contract. But that’s bad sports management. Do free agents avoid Boston because they ate some bad deals? Then they won’t avoid the Cardinals if the Cardinals do what’s best for the team.

    #56329
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    PadsFS
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    Robert Reed

    Since then, one bad move after another. Some seemed to make good sense at the time, while others were questionable or plain stupid from the get-go. Leake, Cecil, Fowler, Ozuna, Gregerson, Holland….

    Yes, there’s also Mikolas and Bud Norris. Maybe one or two other very minor moves. But on balance, The Horror.

    Gyorko was a pretty fantastic addition as well. We also signed Seung-Hwan Oh. The trades of Grichuk and Piscotty look like pretty nice returns as well. Also, I don’t understand putting Ozuna in the questionable/stupid move category.

    Ultimately, there wasn’t a whole lot available on the FA market to get other than Leake, Cecil, Gergerson, Holland and Fowler that would have made an appreciable difference. My personal preference was for Moustakas, Reed, and Nicasio.

    I truly believe that Fowler will turn it around hitting-wise. His numbers are very similar to how he has hit over the last few years, except for the BABIP. He’s always been streaky like this as well.

    #56331
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    GACard
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    I don’t understand people knocking the Ozuna move either. The bullpen moves are baffling though. It’s laughable that they tossed that much money at the pen and two of the three signings have been colossal failures (not including Gregerson as a total miss yet out of optimism).

    I will say that I love Yadi, but you either need more pop or more discipline in the 5 spot. If you add a good bat in the 5 spot and get Dejong back at 6, I think the offense looks much better. That extra bat plus Dejong could also make the Fowler/Bader platoon look a lot better if they aren’t sitting in the top 6 in the lineup on a consistent basis.

    I think the Ozuna signing shows us that we truly were two bats away, as most of us tended to believe. I think we need to make the move sooner rather than later. We’ve blown a lot of series against below 500 teams through the first 2.5 months.

    Yeah, we’re on pace for 90 wins, but the schedule definitely does not get easier from here

    #56430
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    14NyquisT
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    Gmaske,
    1) right
    2) right
    3) right
    4) right
    I think all of what you wrote down is spot on.

    A tip of the cap to Ozuna for starting to come around and showing some power…. that’s what we got him for.

    #56435
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    gscottar
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    The Cardinals front office has a really really really hard time admitting mistakes. I guess they did with Leake but I think that was more of clearing space for the younger guys than admitting a mistake.

    I expect Fowler, Cecil, Holland, Gregerson, and even Wong to stay on the roster as long as they can possibly do it. I mean no-one likes to have to admit they made a mistake. I know I certainly don’t but sometimes for the sake of the organization you just have to do it, hopefully learn from it, and move on.

    #56442
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    thejager
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    i think if they can swap Wong for HErrera in a 1 for 1 that was said in the PD chat the other day…then i think that could still be done…admitting the mistake but getting something that will help…even if it is more short term i think could be spun well enough to not lose face…or at least TOO much face

    the egg is on their face for HOlland and Cecil…there is much to do about it…Fowler is troubling but he still has 2/3 of a year to come back…and he showed last year he can do that… Gregerson is still up for analysis as i am not sure we haev seen him pitch yet without still being injured…once he returns from his surgery and rehab i think we will haev a better idea whether that deal is a negative…but the HOlland move looks bad really bad…but at least it is just one year AND they get saved with the great signing of NOrris and callup of Hicks to deflect from how bad it was….the Cecil signing …well he has had every excuse…changing leagues, injury 1…injury 2…injury offseason…poor play..slow start syndrome..role changing etc etc…and we are left with a guy that just doesnt seem to have it anymore paid a lot of money…im not sure there is much to do at this point…we had to deal with this with Broxton and Peralta last year…thoguh the comparison isnt the greatest…but sometimes you just cant take the chance with a guy even if you are paying him… i think he is only still on the team because he is left handed and they dont know the extent of Lyons injury…and with Gomber rounding into reliever form i am not sure he will last much longer…what he really needs is a blowout win where we are up by 10 runs…and he can come in for an inning or two and dominate…then maybe another blowout win a couple days later and get one great inning in…with no pressure…but i dont see that happening any time soon and can we really trust him against the lefties of the Cubs in the next series? We can only hide him for so long

    I liked the Cecil signing…mayeb a bit too expensive but for what he showed at TOR i was fine with it…i even thought after last year he made some late season strides…but this year has been horrible…if Holland and Greger and LEone and Lyons were all healthy and doing well then mayeb i coudl look past it…but we need every bullet in the pen right now…and he is at best a blank

    #56446
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    forsch31
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    I think the Cardinals have reached a point where they must make some very tough decisions. They HAVE to restructure the team.

    I thought the Fowler signing was needed when it happened. They didn’t have any minor league OFs ready and they needed a bridge to that point in time. I didn’t like a 5 year deal, though. I thought anything longer than 4 years was a mistake and was really hoping for 3 years.

    Last year, Fowler earned his pay. Going into this year, I thought he would be around his career average with a little higher OPS. However, it is looking like this “marriage” is not going to work out and it might be time to move him elsewhere.

    As for the bullpen, Cecil could be released and I think that would be a good move. I never understood the 4 year deal for the amount they paid him. If they have to eat the contract, that is already a sunk cost but he could be replaced for league minimum by a farmhand. I think Holland deserves more time. I am not ready to say he has lost it in such a short period of time. Since he is only signed for this year, it will not have an effect after this year. Gregerson also deserves more time time. He needs to get healthy and prove whether he has anything left or not.

    Carpenter has hit over .300 since the middle of May and his OPS is over .900 in that time. I either want him to play 1B all the time or be traded. It is also time to trade J. Martinez. He is a liability in the field anywhere you play him. Maybe trading for Moustakas wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Gyorko could play 2B then unless he has to go in the Moustakas trade.

    I am ready to start shaking the roster up. Eat a little money and try to get better offensively and defensively.

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