Cardinals trade Fowler to Angels

February 5th, 2021

The Cardinals struck a deal with the Angels late Thursday night, sending veteran outfielder west in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations, formally opening a starting spot for their top prospect in the process.

Fowler, 34, was in the final year of the five-year, $82.5 million contract he signed before the 2017 season. Set to earn $14.5 million in 2021, his contract included a no-trade clause, one he waived to reunite with former manager Joe Maddon in Los Angeles.

The Cardinals will be sending $12.75 million to L.A. in the deal, a source told’s Rhett Bollinger. The clubs have not confirmed the money being exchanged.

Angels get:
OF Dexter Fowler, $12.75 million (per source)
Cardinals get: Player to be named later or cash considerations

“We are extremely grateful for everything that Dexter has done for us over the past four years, both on the field and with his generous work in the community,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said in a statement. “With the expectation that we will have plenty of competition in the outfield this season, and with Dexter’s approaching free agency, we felt that this deal made the most sense for all parties.”

What Mozeliak is alluding to is that top prospect Dylan Carlson is waiting in the wings to make an impact on the big league roster. With Gold Glover Tyler O’Neill in left and Harrison Bader in center, the door is fully open for Carlson to run with the starting job in right.

Carlson, 22, appeared in 35 games in 2020, slashing .200/.252/.364 in his first big league action. He can play all three outfield spots, but profiles best in the corners. Now he will get every chance to prove that come Spring Training.

The Cards also have Lane Thomas, Justin Williams and Austin Dean on the 40-man roster, which stands at 36 after Thursday’s swap. Those three will likely push the prospective starters in Spring Training, with the expectation they land in bench or pinch-hitting roles.

Regardless of how the positional breakdown shakes out, the Cardinals’ 2021 outfield will not feature Fowler for the first time since ‘17. Fowler excelled in that first season, slashing .264/.363/.488 with a 122 OPS+ after coming over from the World Series champion Cubs, but those numbers dropped to .218/.320/.370 and 86 over the following three seasons. He returned a bit to form in 2019, however, tallying a career-high 19 homers and 67 RBIs.

An All-Star and veteran voice in the clubhouse, Fowler leaves behind a prospective outfield whose oldest player will be Bader at 26.