The Cards stated their goals this off-season were to become more athletic and better defensively, and Fowler fills both of those needs.
The deal means that the 30-year-old will become the team's new center-fielder, moving Randall Grichuk to left field. He will also take over the leadoff spot in the lineup, as Matt Carpenter will shift down to No. 3.
Fowler turned down his option with the Cubs after making $16 million in 2016. He posted an on-base percentage of .393 on the season, hitting 13 home runs, including a leadoff blast in Game 7 of the World Series in Cleveland. He excelled as the team's leadoff hitter, with an on-base percentage of .479 in the first inning.
The Cardinals were also in discussions with the Chicago White Sox regarding speedy outfielder Adam Eaton, but those talks ended quickly during the Winter Meetings. Instead, Eaton was dealt to the Washington Nationals for pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning. This deal was announced on Wednesday night, just a day after Chicago dealt ace, Chris Sale, to Boston.
The 28-year-old hit .284 with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs as the White Sox' leadoff hitter in 2016, while leading the American League with nine triples. In his career, Eaton has an average of .284, and on-base percentage of .357, a slugging percentage of .414, 34 big flies, and 177 RBIs in five MLB seasons. He has led the AL in triples in two of the past three seasons.
The speedster can also contribute on the defensive side of the ball, as he recorded 22 runs saved in 2016, second-most behind Mookie Betts of the Red Sox in the American League.
Eaton does still have three guaranteed seasons left on his five-year contract that he signed with the White Sox, which now belongs to the Nationals. He joins Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper as lefties at the top of the lineup. When asked where exactly their new addition will bat, manager Dusty Baker stated "that remains to be seen."
Another speedy outfielder with some pop also agreed to a deal in free agency this past week, as Carlos Gomez chose to stay with the Texas Rangers on a one-year contract. The deal is reporteldy for $11.5 million, as the Rangers keep the man they added mid-season after the Houston Astros waived him.
The two-time All-Star center-fielder was signed to a minor league deal in August, but was brought up by the end of the month. This after hitting just .210 with five home runs and 29 RBIs, along with 100 strikeouts in 85 games with Houston. In just 33 games with Texas, Gomez hit .284 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs, seeming to find his mojo again.
Gomez has won a Gold Glove on the defensive side of the ball, doing so with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013. In his career, the outgoing 31-year-old has an average of .257 with 116 home runs with the Mets, Twins, Brewers, Astros, and now Rangers.