After a season-ending injury derailed his hopes of reuniting with former Cubs manager Joe Maddon and making another postseason run with the Angels last year, outfielder Dexter Fowler is now in Blue Jays camp, looking to catch on with the club here in the final week of spring action.
There are only a handful of guys who spent such a short period of time on the North Side and left such a lasting mark. Acquired ahead of the 2015 season, Fowler quickly emerged as the spark plug for Maddon’s club – playing a key role as the Cubs made an unexpected and improbable run to the NLCS.
We thought that was the end of his journey in Chicago after reports surfaced late the following offseason that he was heading to Baltimore. Instead, he surprised his teammates in Mesa, returning to the Cubs on a one-year deal in hopes of finishing the job in 2016 – which is exactly what they did, winning 103 games and winning it all for the first time since 1908.
During the Fall Classic, one Fowler moment will stand the test of time – his leadoff home run against Indians ace Corey Kluber in Game 7.
At the end of his two-year stint with the Cubs, during which he slashed .261/.367/.427, he joined the rival Cardinals on a five-year, $82.5 million deal that is now widely regarded by St. Louis fans as a massive overpay and unmitigated failure. Fowler hit just .233 during his time with the Redbirds, never regaining his form from 2015-16 and he was traded to the Angels prior to the 2021 season.
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Now, at age 36, Fowler is looking to show he’s got something left in the tank with Toronto, one of the youngest and most well-rounded teams in the league. It’s hard to see how he could crack the roster given the number of proven commodities already in tow, but, if nothing else, maybe this gives him an opportunity to showcase for other teams around the league.