Last week, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak put his foot in his mouth when he called into question outfielder Dexter Fowler‘s effort and energy. He said, “I’ve also had a lot of people come up to me and question his effort and his energy level. You know, those are things that I can’t defend.” Mozeliak later tried to walk back his comments. This all happened, by the way, after Fowler left the team to be with his wife Aliya, who was giving birth to their second child.
Fowler, 32, has struggled in the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract signed with the Cardinals in December 2016. This season, he has hit a measly .168/.271/.273 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 255 plate appearances. Manager Mike Matheny has been giving Harrison Bader more and more playing time in right field, lessening Fowler’s opportunities.
According to a report from The Athletic’s Mark Saxon over the weekend, Fowler and Matheny “barely talk and haven’t for months.” Matheny was recently asked about Fowler specifically, but he deflected to discuss the team as a whole.
Saxon suggests that a trade by the end of the month isn’t as likely as an offseason trade. Fowler still thinks he can turn things around with his current team. He said, “Yeah, that’s what I signed up for. At the end of the day, it’s what I signed up for and I’m going to give it my all all the time.”