Fowler flies o≠ to Cardinals
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.
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.