Chicago Cubs: Fowler’s departure felt three seasons later
“You go, we go” became synonymous with Dexter Fowler during his two-season stint with the Cubs. The center fielder and leadoff man slashed .261/.367/.427, numbers that don’t necessarily jump off the page.
Fowler was a stellar table setter for the Cubs, however, one who got on base frequently and worked long/quality at-bats ahead of the likes of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and others. Following the 2016 season, though, he hit free agency.
Fowler earned himself a hefty contract following the 2016 campaign. He signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, a move that hurt the Cubs in more ways than one. Not only did Fowler leave the North Side, but he left for the Cubs’ No. 1 rival.
Although he’s produced a mixed bag offensively with the Cardinals, Fowler leaving left a void atop the Cubs lineup. Since 2017, the team has used a plethora of leadoff hitters.
Kyle Schwarber notoriously struggled leading off in 2017, even getting demoted to Triple-A along the way. The Cubs have tried Albert Almora. Jr, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward and others as leadoff men, all to no avail.