Angels acquire veteran Dexter Fowler from Cardinals

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Angels acquired veteran outfielder Dexter Fowler from the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night for cash or a player to be named later.

Fowler batted .233 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 23 games last season, his fourth with St. Louis. The switch-hitting former Rockies and Cubs slugger is a career .259 hitter with 127 homers and 561 RBIs.

Fowler, who turns 35 next month, can play all three outfield positions. Although Fowler’s production has declined in recent years, the Angels see the veteran as an important leader for their clubhouse and a short-term solution in right field so they can give more minor league development time to Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh.

“He’s an outstanding human being, and he’s a high-energy player,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said. “Over a 162-game season, energy is important, and this guy brings that smile, that energy on a daily basis. And we still think he can play. We think there’s a lot left in the tank. The homework we’ve done, he’s put in a ton of work this offseason. For him to waive his no-trade clause … it’s an honor.”

Fowler also is costing the Angels only $1.75 million in salary.

He is headed into his 13th full big league season in the final year of a five-year, $82 million contract. He has a $14.5 million salary in 2021, and St. Louis remains responsible for the two final $1 million installments of his $10 million signing bonus, due July 1 and Oct. 1.

As part of the trade, the Cardinals agreed to pay the Angels $12.75 million in 12 installments of $1,062,500 on the 15th and final day of each month from April through September.

Fowler’s switch-hitting abilities will provide a counterpart to right-handed hitting Angels outfielders Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Adell. Taylor Ward also is expected to compete for a roster spot in the Halos’ outfield in spring training.

The 21-year-old Adell, the Halos’ top prospect, struggled in his major league debut last season as their everyday right fielder, batting .161 with a .478 OPS over 38 games. Fowler’s presence will allow Adell’s development to proceed more deliberately in 2021.

“We like (Fowler) in right field, and we feel like offensively he’s going to bring a lot to the lineup,” Minasian said. “We feel really good about Jo. We think Jo is going to have an outstanding career, and we feel like at some point this year, he’s going to impact this club.”

Fowler earned his only All-Star selection and his only World Series ring in 2016 with Chicago under current Angels manager Joe Maddon.

Fowler is the third veteran who played under Maddon at previous stops to join the Angels in this offseason, along with former Cubs starter Jose Quintana and former Rays starter Alex Cobb. Minasian and Maddon only began working together three months ago, but the rookie GM says their philosophies are already quite similar.

“We want a certain type of player, and I think Joe and I are really aligned in this,” Minasian said. “We want a certain type of makeup, a certain mentality, and him putting his stamp on those players make them more desirable.”

Fowler has spent just one season of his career in the AL, playing for Houston in 2014.

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.