The Cubs announced Monday the team acquired OF Dexter Fowler from the Houston Astros for INF Luis Valbuena and RHP Dan Straily.
The Cubs 40-man roster officially stands at 39 players with Monday’s trade.
The Cubs have been looking for a left-handed hitting outfielder that could hit at the top of the lineup and play center field. And the Cubs found what the front office was looking for in the switch-hitting Dexter Fowler.
Fowler is a free agent at the end of the season and did not avoid arbitration with the Astros prior to Friday’s deadline to exchange salary figures. Fowler filed for $10.8 million and the Astros countered with $8.5 million.
The Cubs settled on a one-year contract with Luis Valbuena for $4.2 million. If Fowler ends up making $10 million in 2015, the difference between Fowler’s contract and what Valbuena and Dan Straily will make is $5.3 million.
According to reports, the Cubs plan to play Mike Olt, Tommy La Stella and possibly Arismendy Alcantara at third base until Kris Bryant is ready to be called up.
Dexter Fowler, 28 (turns 29 in March), is a switch-hitter with a career .271 batting average (726-for-2,682) and a .366 on-base percentage in all or part of seven major league seasons with the Colorado Rockies (2008-13) and Houston Astros (2014). Per 162 games, Fowler has averaged 29 doubles, 12 triples, 10 homers, 19 stolen bases, 81 walks and a .419 slugging to contribute to a career .786 OPS. He is a career .299 hitter (240-for-802) with a .391 on-base percentage when batting from the right side of the plate and a career .259 hitter (486-for-1880) with a .356 on-base from the left side.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Fowler batted .276 (120-for-434) with a .375 on-base percentage – 99 points higher than his batting average – and a .399 slugging percentage in 116 games for the Astros last season, his lone season in Houston following his off-season trade from Colorado. He drew at least 65 walks for the fourth season in a row (66).
Fowler has exclusively played center field since his first full season in the big leagues in 2009, when he finished eighth in National League Rookie of the Year voting, and his 57 triples since 2009 lead all major leaguers covering the last six seasons. He set the Rockies record for triples in a single season in 2010 (14) and again in 2011 (15), when he also recorded a career-high 35 doubles. Fowler set career bests in many offensive categories in 2012, including batting average (.300), home runs (13), RBI (53), walks (68, tied), games played (143) and OPS (.863).
A native of Atlanta, Ga., Dexter Fowler was originally selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 14th round of the 2004 Draft out of Milton (Ga.) High School.
Luis Valbuena, 29, batted .249 (119-for-478) with 16 home runs and 51 RBI in 149 games with the Cubs last season. He was originally claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays on April 4, 2012. Valbuena is a career .229 hitter (415-for-1,809) with 45 homers and 173 RBI in 576 games covering all or part of seven big league seasons with the Seattle Mariners (2008), Cleveland Indians (2009-11), and the Cubs (2012-14).
Dan Straily, 26, is 13-12 with a 4.54 ERA (123/243.2 IP) in 48 big league appearances covering parts of three big league seasons with the Oakland Athletics (2012-14) and Chicago Cubs (2014). He was acquired by the Cubs as part of the trade that sent pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland for infielder Addison Russell,outfielder Billy McKinney and cash.