Dexter Fowler bet on himself and won big with $82.5M Cardinals deal

The numbers are in for Dexter Fowler’s new contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, and they’re big. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, it’s a five-year, $82.5 million contract, with a full no-trade clause.

Fowler’s former team, the Chicago Cubs, extended him a qualifying offer that was worth $17.2 million, but he turned it down, taking his chances on the open market. And that gamble absolutely paid off. Instead of taking the qualifying offer, which would have netted him $17.2 million for one year, now he’s got $16.5 million for five years, and a no-trade clause to boot.

In Fowler, the Cardinals are getting a great center fielder with solid skills and dependable numbers. Discounting his 13-game debut in 2008, Fowler’s never had a final season average below .250. Lifetime, he’s hit .268/.366/.422, and last season with the Cubs he hit .276/.393/.447, with that .393 on-base percentage a career high. He’s hit at least 12 homers in four of his last five seasons, and with his postseason experience can only help the Cardinals, who are (usually) perennial playoff contenders.

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02: Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Dexter Fowler is a Cub no more. (Getty Images)

It’s not like Fowler, who has spent the last two seasons with the Cubs, won’t see his former teammates again. He’ll be seeing them a lot since the Cubs and Cardinals are NL Central rivals. In fact, this feels like a “turnabout is fair play” situation, since the Cubs have been snapping up former Cardinals for the past few years. The Cubs signed center fielder Jon Jay recently (which was a pretty solid sign that Fowler’s time with the Cubs had come to an end), and they picked up Jason Heyward and John Lackey last year. All three had been Cardinals in the past.

Fowler will wear No. 25 with the Cardinals, which has a very special meaning.

The No. 25 also used to be Mark McGwire’s number, so Fowler’s new jersey number has some impressive home run pedigree.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher