LA Angels: The value of Dexter Fowler goes beyond statistics

Dexter Fowler (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
Dexter Fowler (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

The Angels made their latest offseason addition on Thursday, trading for Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler. The Halos will also receive cash considerations and send St. Louis a player to be named later.

Fowler won’t cost much for the Halos this season. The 34-year old has one-year, $14.5 million remaining on his current deal. The Cardinals will cover $12.75 million, resulting in the Angels paying $1.75 million for Fowler in 2021.

For that price, I think this is a great pickup for the Angels, and there is no reason to be upset. Pitching is another story, but not this.

A history of winning and leadership are among the many intangibles Dexter Fowler will bring to the Angels for a cheap price this season.

For starters, Fowler will consist of about one percent of the team’s payroll. It’s not as if the Angels will need him to be the everyday leadoff man he was in the past, either. Fowler is a switch-hitter who will likely see time in right field to begin the season.

Dexter Fowler Career Splits (13 seasons)

  • vs RHP .251/.352/.417 101 HR 391 RBI 105 wRC+
  • vs LHP .282/.374/.422 26 HR 125 RBI 114 wRC+

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The veteran outfielder has struggled the past three seasons for St. Louis, which is why the Cardinals are willing to pay Fowler not to play for them this season. Last summer, Fowler posted a .233/.317/.389 line with four home runs and 15 RBI in 31 games.

Paying less than $2 million with the hopes Fowler can be somewhat productive is a gamble I’d take any day. In the worst case, he gets moved to the bench, but Fowler’s value for the Angels goes beyond statistics.

Fowler is a former World Series champion (Cubs 2016) and one of baseball’s ultimate professionals. It’s not every day a team can add a veteran with his resume for a price this low.

The leadership Fowler carries will help everyone on the Angels roster, and more importantly, he will assist the development of a young player like Jo Adell. After racing through the minor leagues, Adell struggled during his first taste of big-league action last summer.

Angels manager Joe Maddon explained Adell would likely see time in the minor leagues before playing at the major league level again. Fowler probably won’t put up All-Star statistics, but if he can produce enough to help the Halos win, it will buy time before Adell takes over.

When that occurs, Fowler can be used as a fourth outfielder, and having depth and veteran like him off the bench would be a steal. Fowler can even produce enough to the point the Halos might consider trading one of their young outfielders, but that is something we won’t know until the July deadline.

Fowler and Maddon will be reunited from their time together in Chicago. The pair was a part of two division-winning Cubs teams, one of which went on to win a championship. Baseball fans will recall Fowler led off game 7 of the 2016 World Series with a home run.

Fowler has played for teams who have finished with a record above .500 for six straight seasons. The man is a winner, and that alone will bring value to an Angels team that has not had a winning record since 2015.

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Like the other offseason additions, Fowler will be a one-year rental player. If the Angels are not contending, Fowler will be traded with his new teammates for an early start on a retooling for 2022.