(CBS) In what was called a “bittersweet” day by several parties involved, former Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler signed a five-year deal with the rival St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.
Just minutes after Fowler was introduced in St. Louis, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer joined the Spiegel and Goff Show to express his appreciation for what Fowler meant, on and off the field, during his two-year stint in Chicago, which culminated in November with the Cubs winning their first championship since 1908.
Fowler’s deal with the Cardinals was worth a reported $82.5 million, a sum of money the Cubs never envisioned reaching.
“It’s bittersweet, for sure, I can’t lie about that,” Hoyer said. “I loved having Dexter here. He’s a great player and just a wonderful person. I’m happy for him that he bet on himself and got paid well. Because you forget, you go back to February and think about where he was, he was looking at a one-year offer from us or a very small three-year offer from Baltimore. It’s a good lesson. He bet on himself. He bet on the Cubs, and I’ll really be forever grateful that he did that.”
Hoyer will forever have a favorite Fowler moment.
“Dexter Fowler forever will lead off Game 7 (of the World Series) with a homer and forever be one of the 25 guys who ended the curse,” Hoyer said. “That’s never going to change. There’s no doubt that once we start next year, he will have his moment in the sun here. He’ll get his ring here. He’ll get the moment he absolutely deserves.
“Then he’ll go back to being a player we need to get out, a player we need to beat. But that never changes how we feel about him.”
The 30-year-0ld Fowler was the tone-setter for the Cubs, with a .393 on-base percentage. The Cardinals envision him doing the same for them, and Fowler appears to be bringing a Joe Maddon mantra of his to St. Louis.
“If I go, we all go,” Fowler said of his role for the Cardinals, referencing Maddon’s “you go, we go” line.
For weeks, the Cubs had anticipated Fowler signing with the Cardinals.
“We had a sense this was a possibility all winter,” Hoyer said. “The Cardinals were very clear about their desire to go get a center fielder and a lead-off hitter. Obviously, he was a good fit.
“They got better today, for sure, with Dexter.”