After signing a free-agent deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, outfielder Dexter Fowler commented on the decision during his introductory press conference Friday. 

Fowler left the Chicago Cubs for the rival Cards, and according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, he inked a five-year, $82.5 million contract.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted a photo of Fowler in his new threads and noted why his number choice is significant:

While the Cubs seem poised to compete for championships on an annual basis for many years to come, Fowler believes the Cardinals will be in the mix as well, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune“I can’t tell what the future has in line, but I feel this team has a chance to win the World Series. … Winning is addicting.”

The Cardinals finished 17 games behind the Cubs last season and missed the playoffs, but Fowler suggested the two teams are closer than the numbers indicate, per Gonzales“(The Cardinals) weren’t that far away (in terms of competing with Cubs). We’re definitely close.”

Fowler nearly left the Cubs last offseason to sign with the Baltimore Orioles but changed his mind and returned to the Windy City in a move that helped him earn a championship ring.

The 2017 season will see Fowler go up against his former team, however, and he’ll do it often since they play in the same division.

Now that the 2016 All-Star has crossed enemy lines, he admitted that it will be a strange feeling when he goes up against the Cubbies, per Gonzales“It will be weird, but I guess they’re our rivals now. They’re still my boys, but we’re out here to win.”

The 30-year-old veteran hit .276 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored and 13 stolen bases, but the Cubs would have been hard-pressed to retain him because of how much they paid Jason Heyward last offseason.

Since he may not have gotten fair market value from the Cubs, he trusted his instincts by joining the Cardinals, per Gonzales“At the end of the day, you go with your gut feeling, and this was my gut feeling.”

Prior to missing the playoffs last season, the Cards had made five consecutive trips to the playoffs, including two World Series appearances and one championship.

St. Louis seemingly has an abundance of strong pitching with some question marks offensively, but Fowler’s near-.400 on-base percentage from 2016 should help significantly.

Fowler was undoubtedly a catalyst for Chicago’s offense next season, and the jump-start he provides could be enough to get the Cards back in the postseason in 2017.


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