Dexter Fowler will stay in the NL Central, as the Cardinals have signed him for five years and $82.5 million. Fowler also gets a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals seemed likely to add a center fielder this offseason, and short of trading for Adam Eaton, Fowler probably improves them as much as anyone could. They’ll now have an outfield alignment of Fowler in center and Stephen Piscotty and Randall Grichuk in the corners.
$82.5 million seems like a lot for Fowler’s age-31 through -35 seasons, and the no-trade clause (which is becoming increasingly popular in long-term contracts) could prove worrisome later. But the Cardinals can afford it. Fowler produced 4.7 fWAR with a .393 OBP and solid defense last year in Chicago.
The Cubs, meanwhile, already added Jon Jay (a former Cardinal, amusingly) this offseason, and they have a bunch of outfield help, with Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora and Kris Bryant also available.