Dexter Fowler: Short-term Astro or long-term solution?

  • “Look for Fowler to go bye-bye.” — Bo.
  • “Fowler will be dangled and few would be surprised to see him change uniforms.” –Devin.
  • Dexter Fowler “is most responsible for the Astros’ improvement since May 1”. –oldpro.

With the possible exception of Jose Altuve, only a 28-year-old outfielder with a .270 career batting average may have more value to the Astros. The question: How do you assess that value?

Is he more value wearing another uniform or spending the next 2-3 years in the Astros’ outfield? The answer to that question may depend on how Jeff Luhnow and his statistical gurus assess the up and coming talent at Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City.

There are pros and cons to extending Fowler and there may not be a right answer.

Here are some reasons to keep him in an Astros’ uniform, at least through this season.

  • Other than Altuve, he is the most constant and most consistent player in the lineup.
  • He provides some veteran stability in a mostly 25-and-under lineup.
  • He leads the team in walks, OBP and runs scored and that would be hard to replace.
  • The Astros have reached a level of respectability. Taking away one of the key players would set the team back. At least in the near term.
  • There are no obvious immediate replacements. At least not at this moment.
  • Fowler at the top of the lineup has made it possible for others to hit in their natural spots in the lineup.
  • Houston needs some stability for the next 2-3 years. You know what you have in Fowler. The prospects are just that. Prospects.
  • Trading Fowler now would leave only one sure thing in the outfield.

And, a few reasons to move him next month.

  • How many prospects is he blocking soon or in the next year? Domingo Santana, Preston Tucker, Austin Wates? Delino DeShields Jr. next season? Time to make room for the future.
  • He is keeping George Springer from his natural position. It’s time to put the future pieces of the puzzle where they belong.
  • Fowler could bring a haul or prospects or near-MLB-ready talent from a contender looking for a fleet-footed, high OBP leadoff hitter either next month or this winter.
  • Packaging Fowler with a pitching prospect could provide an upgrade on the major league roster at either catcher or shortstop.
  • Entering his last year of arbitration, Fowler likely will earn more than $10 million next season before hitting his free agent season in 2016. The money may be better spent on the bullpen or an extension for players like Springer or Jarred Cosart.
  • He’s been steady for the Astros, but Fowler isn’t worth the $$ he’ll command in the off season. Perfect time to move him.

And, a few curious questions that have nothing to do with Mr. Fowler.

  • Why do players take less $$ than their slot in the draft? Do they really want to help the organization?
  • Does anyone really — really — believe that Gregorio Petit, a 29-year-old career minor leaguer has played nearly 1,100 games in the minors, can actually start and contribute for the Astros?
  • What are the chances that Mark Appel is a Phil Nevin-like bust?
  • Will the potentially significant injury affect Carlos Correa‘s ranking as the Astros’ #1 prospect?
  • Speaking of prospects, where do you place Brady Aiken, Derek Fisher or A.J. Reed on the top prospects list?

35 comments on “Dexter Fowler: Short-term Astro or long-term solution?

  1. The only reason to trade Fowler would be to pick up a sure thing major leaguer at a position of need like SS or C, but would he be enough by himself?
    I’m not really concerned about his salary – the teams payroll is not going to go up with so many youngsters coming up in the new future.

    If you get wowed with an offer – consider it – but don’t go dumping one of our solid players for more potential.

    – No idea why players take under slot unless they just don’t have options or leverage.
    – After watching Villar attempt to hit – I’m not sure if Petit would be worse – but the age thing is the reason you would sty the corse
    – Nevin was never a star – but he was not a Brian Taylor kind of bust. He did play for a while in the majors. Maybe spelled Brien instead of Brian? My memory is nit good.
    – Correa should still be #1 unless for some reason he can’t come back fof 2015
    – Aiken – #7, Fisher – #13, Reed – # 16 (and I pulled that out of thin air)


  2. Is someone going to trade you a major league caliber catcher or SS who can steal bases and lead the team in OBP for Dexter Fowler? No. So, why would you trade away one of your two best players for an couple of good prospects when you are already loaded with prospects but don’t have many good players?
    If you would make a trade to improve your club, why wouldn’t you just get send down the guys who are awful and have had a chance to improve and haven’t done it.
    Send Grossman down for the rest of the year and call up Wates. Send Villar down and call up Petit. The 40-man you say? then release Farnsworth and Williams and bring up a couple of OUR pitchers that are already on the 40-man.
    Fowler is giving us something in CF. What we are not getting anything out of is Catcher, LF and SS and we can’t do anything about catcher right now so lets do something about the other two and leave Fowler alone, unless someone is willing to give up a Cosart, a Santana, a Singleton and a Zeid for him. Then I’m listening.


    • Pretty much what i was thinking so i wont Blab to Blab . We dont need more prospects we need proven MLB talent. Im thinking Grossman must have photos of Lunhow in a compromising situation. What he batting now .120 and has left 6000 on base in the last month ENOUGH


      • Holy cow! Grossman was hitting .175 and then goes 0-24 and he’s still in LF! Oh, I forgot that, statistically, he is due a huge positive regression. Leave him in there, boys, he’s due to explode!
        In other Astros news, the club has hired Juan Numero, an associate professor of statistics at St Louis Community College, to be their head of scouting in Mexico. Numero’s duties will consist mainly of scouting overweight first base prospects with pregnant wives. Numero was due to report Sunday but apparently was caught looking and struck out on his flight.


  3. If Fowler is producing like he has been, the PAY the guy next year. If my memory serves me right, Jim Crane said he was going to spend to get this team better.
    It’s time (past time) to put up or SHUT up. Fowler is probably getting as tired as we are about losing…….he and Altuve are carrying this team, and is getting frustrated
    with Luhnow. AND…..*who* would you package with him for a trade?? I’m not willing to trade Folty, or Tropeano . PERIOD. As for our little problem at SS, we are stuck watching Villar make errors with a light hitting bat. I have a feeling Mr. Grossman will be on a Southwest flight to OKC……VERY soon. Luhnow made it very clear earlier this week, that business as usual was coming to a screeching
    halt, and Porter said he didn’t think Robbie was going to be in the lineup tomorrow.
    It irritates the cr_p outta me, when a guy who we traded away get’s revenge like
    tonight. Grrrrrrrrrrr.


  4. Has anyone noticed this latest slump has coincided with the lineup change moving Fowler from the 3 hole to leadoff, Altuve from 1st to 2nd and Springer from 2nd to 3rd? Now, I will admit that this change in the lineup is what I thought was ideal, but for some reason, it isn’t working so maybe they should return Altuve to leadoff, Springer 2nd and Fowler 3rd and let it ride out the rest of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Had not thought about it Tim but that is true. But the bigger culprits are down the lineup. For the month of June – Dominguez – OPS .591 / Castro .551 / Grossman .483 / Villar .588.
      Any type of rally is not being sustained.


  5. Tim, Altuve is hitting .414 in the two slot. Fowler has a higher .OPS in the leadoff spot than anywhere else. Springer, while struggling somewhat in the three slot these last couple of weeks actually has a .390 OBP in that role. Pitchers are working around him because of crappy cleanup hitters like Castro. His hits will come. These three guys are not the problem. It’s the other six guys on the card. Right now, two thirds of the lineup sucks. Move Fowler?

    If Fowler goes, it’s another step back. I really can’t envision a haul for him that would make this team better, even in 2015. Our payroll is still an embarrassment. Dealing Fowler now will further erode any credibility this organization has at a time when there is finally a slight buzz in the ballpark.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There was a good reason to trade a MLB player for prospects a couple years ago. It was to improve the farm AND the MLBers were not performing to their salary level. That was two years ago and longer. Fowler can play in the majors. We need more that can play at that level. If he is traded, Bo is a genius again, and it was an unnecessary salary dump.


  7. I am not saying the guys at the top are not performing, but pointing out the coincidence in the recent slide happening when the lineup change was made. Clearly the bottom 2/3’s of the lineup are slumping. During the hot streak Dominguez was getting clutch hits and Castro had some big HRs. Neither of these players are hitting right now. Combine that with the struggles of Singeton, Grossman and Villar and it is clear why this team is slumping. However, it did happen right at the same time the lineup was changed.


  8. I’m also not interested in trading Springer to make room with the Astros. If Santana is your 3rd OF and Wates your 4th and somebody else appears to earn a promotion then Fowler would be blocking someone and that is not happening soon. And why move him to give Springer CF? it might be a slight defensive improvement – it might not. No reason to move one of the few guys performing.


    • I’d consider moving Fowler at a time where we have 3 productive everyday outfielders and a 4th productive guy on the bench not getting enough playing time. We’re two guys away from that luxury.


  9. The Astros and their top two affiliates who played last night were a combined 2 for 27 with runners in scoring position:
    Houston 1-10
    OKC 0-4
    Lancaster 1-13
    Mercifully, Corpus Christi was idle.
    Needless to say, all three teams lost.


  10. I think the only way you move him is if another team wants to overpay. I’m thinking legit #1 starter kind of overpay. Forget selling high. This is the same story as Lowrie, which concerns me. Fowler never hit expectations in COL and had trouble staying healthy. Well, at 28 he is in his prime and so far has been everything we could have hoped for. Also, despite my early objections, I like Springer in RF. Let’s cross the Santana bridge when we come to it. LF alone is not keeping us out of the 2014 playoffs, so don’t overreact.
    – is it fair to call Nevin a bust? Houston didn’t get anything out of him, but SD did a few years down the line. Should we consider Bobby Abreu a bust as well?
    – Aiken is probably at #2 behind Correa. I haven’t seen enough of Fisher this week to put him in the top 20. Reed is probably around #10 on power potential.


    • Okay, so we move him and we end up having one ML outfielder, a kid with just a couple of months under his belt. Premature to count on Wates, Tucker, Santana or anyone else. Look at Singleton right now.


  11. Fowler is Lowrie 2.0. The Astros got a lot of mediocrity in that trade, and really had no one to fill in at SS. At the time though it was probably not the worst thing to do. However, on a team with fewer holes to fill and more answers in the minors, the Astros need to start thinking less in terms of quantity and more in terms of quality. Keep Dexter and make the minor leaguers force there way onto the team. And by force, I don’t mean two and a half months of hot hitting at AAA. So Santana and Tucker can wait till next year. Grossman will prove what he is over the next 300-400 ABs. Presley has his 1000 ABs, so if you want a .300 OBP and 5 HRs, keep him. Hoes and/or Wates should be getting his ABs, not Fowler’s. When they prove to be replacements for Fowler in the OF, then entertain trades for Fowler.

    I’d hold onto Fowler at least until next trade deadline, if not through all of ’15. Then make him a qualifying offer and get your prospect in the draft. Or pay $14-15MM for a solid CFer. I’d like to have four legitimate ML OFs for a change.


    • Flash, think we’re saying much the same thing (?), but there are a couple of differences in Fowler and Lowrie.

      * At the time of the Lowrie trade, Jed had never played in more than 97 games in one season. He had a lot of promise, but was still largely unproven.
      * Fowler is more of a proven entity and has more of a track record.
      * As some have pointed out, when the Lowrie trade happened, the Astros were at a different point. Restock, rebuild. Now, the pendulum is swinging in the other direction.
      * FWIW, Lowrie had that “big” year in 2013, but is a big bomb in 2014. He’s hitting .218 with 4 HRs/26 RBI.


    • When the Astros made the trade for Carter, Luhnow had every reason to believe the guy was about to blossom. He was striking out a lot then too, but his minor league numbers were around 20% not 28-30% and he was just coming off his rookie year. Luhnow (and mostly irrelevantly but me) thought he was getting the better part of the deal. Unfortunately Jed went on to become a little more consistent in PT and Carter is, well, Carter.


  12. In a near-nationally televised(not shown in Houston) press conference today, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane annouced the completion of a new baseball academy in the Desert of Southern Arizona. The complex, built entirely of adobe will be completely self sufficient and will house up to 150,000 baseball prospects at a time. Power will be supplied by generators attached to 25,000 stationary tricycles and food will be grown in the desert using unneeded water diverted from surrounding states. The Complex has its own polling station.
    This idea was conceived on a golf course in West Palm Beach, Florida two years ago and was funded by excess funds from the Veteran’s Administration.
    Prospects entering the complex with large backpacks will be traded to the Mariners and the Rockies for cash considerations. Prospects entering the complex with weapons will be traded to the Cubs and White Sox. Prospects with both backpacks and weapons will be traded to the Tigers. Prospects who don’t know anything about anything will be waived to the Nationals, who will pay for their care.
    The Astros consider this new academy to be the next hotbed for baseball talent. Crane commented that almost everyone in the camp had a soccer ball “so we know that, statistically speaking, they have a love for sports.”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Chip – I don’t know what you do with Fowler, Springer and Santana as an outfield. Two CF’ers and a RF is a good problem to have though and can be sorted out when it becomes the problem. I am not a huge believer in Wates being more than 4th OFer on a good team, but he will get his opportunity if he keeps producing in the minors. Regardless, Santana seems to be more of a late 16 problem, and there is a still a lot of baseball to be played between now and then.

    Grossman is much better than this, but for those of us that believe that and getting Robbie to believe that are two different things. At this point he should be back in OKC. The franchise shouldn’t give up on him though.

    As for Fowler, as long as he continues to produce the Astros should pay him and keep him. It really comes down to if Luhnow thinks he will continue to produce. Players always show the roller coaster up and down ride except for the very best of them. What if he gets a 4 year 50 million dollar deal and has a midseason slump next year that leaves him at .255/.330/.680? It’s difficult to give long term, big contracts to players that have inconsistent times in their career, but they aren’t paying anyone else right now so the money is there.

    I have to assume that Luhnow is the smarter guy in the room between him and Crane, so if I am the owner and my GM comes to me and says lets pay this guy, I will do it.

    They should absolutely be looking at Springer and realizing that even he knew he was better than that dumb offer they made, make him a legitimate offer, and cornerstone the guy for the next 8-10 years.


  14. Hoes called up, Grossman sent down. I wonder who get’s their frequent flyer miles !!?? Now……when can we see Villar on his way to OKC.


  15. First reports were right about Correa, he has a fractured fibula, and he will be out for the rest of the season. Although he and all of us had high hope for his promotion to CC……he can use the time off to heal and rehab…….and be ready to come to Spring training next year.

    Liked by 1 person

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