Fowler flies o≠ to Cardinals

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

st. louis» Dex­ter Fowler is headed from the World Se­ries cham­pi­ons to their big­gest ri­val.

Af­ter help­ing the Cubs end their long cham­pi­onship drought, he fi­nal­ized an $82.5 mil­lion, five-year con­tract with the Cardinals on Fri­day. Fowler fills the last big hole left in the Cardinals’ lineup af­ter moves made ear­lier in the off­sea­son to shore up the bullpen.

“It was an honor just to be con­sid­ered to be in the Cardinals’ or­ga­ni­za­tion,” said Fowler, who will wear No. 25 in honor of his men­tor, Barry Bonds, be­cause his usual 24 is re­tired by the Cardinals.

“You play against the Cardinals — I’ve been play­ing against them for eight years now — and they al­ways come out fight­ing. Al­ways fight­ing,” Fowler said. “And then be­ing with a ri­val, be­ing the Cubs how­ever many times we play them a year, you see them and — it’s al­ways good a win­ning team wants you.”

Fowler was also a free agent a year ago, when he spurned a $33 mil­lion, three­year of­fer from Bal­ti­more, which re­fused to of­fer an opt-out af­ter one year. He signed a $13 mil­lion, oneyear deal with the Chicago Cubs and hit .276 with 13 homers and a ca­reer-best .393 on-base per­cent­age that landed him in his first All­Star Game. He had a pair of home runs in help­ing the Cubs win their first World Se­ries ti­tle in 108 years.

“Play­ing over there, and play­ing against the Cardinals, you see them and you saw that they weren’t far away,” Fowler said. “Ob­vi­ously, they beat up on us, we beat up on them. It was al­most even. It was one day or another. I can’t put my fin­ger on one thing or another, but we’re def­i­nitely close.”

His new deal calls for a $10 mil­lion sign­ing bonus, payable in $1 mil­lion in­stall­ments each July 1 and Oct. 1 for the next five years, and an­nual salaries of $14.5 mil­lion.

He gets a full no-trade pro­vi­sion, $50,000 bonuses for mak­ing the All-Star Game and win­ning a Gold Glove, a $25,000 bonus for a Sil­ver Slug­ger, $100,000 for League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries MVP and $150,000 for World Se­ries MVP. He would get $250,000 for NL MVP, $150,000 for fin­ish­ing sec­ond in vot­ing and $100,000 for third through fifth. He would get $50,000 for Di­vi­sion Se­ries MVP if the award is cre­ated.

Foot­notes.

Closer Fer­nando Rodney and the Di­a­mond­backs have fi­nal­ized a $2.75 mil­lion, one-year con­tract that al­lows him to earn an ad­di­tional $4 mil­lion in per­for­mance bonuses. Rodney agreed to the deal ear­lier this week, and it was com­pleted af­ter he passed a phys­i­cal. … Af­ter trad­ing for five-time all-star left-han­der Chris Sale, the Red Sox agreed to terms with Mitch More­land on a $5.5 mil­lion, one-year deal to share time with Han­ley Ramirez at first base. … The Tigers agreed with in­fielder Omar In­fante on a mi­nor-league con­tract with an in­vi­ta­tion to ma­jor-league spring train­ing.

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