Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler admitted to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week that he felt “depressed” in 2018, the worst season of an otherwise solid career. Only three position players finished behind Fowler in fWAR (minus-1.2), whose offensive production fell off a cliff in the second season of a five-year, $82.5MM contract. Despite a nightmarish campaign which ended in early August on account of a fractured left foot, the soon-to-be 33-year-old Fowler still “truly loves” baseball and is gearing up for a rebound next season. It helps that Fowler still has the confidence of Cardinals president John Mozeliak and manager Mike Shildt, and he has grown particularly close to the former, Goold explains. On the other hand, Fowler suggested he lost the belief of former manager Mike Matheny, whom Shildt replaced in July. In an effort to bounce back to his previous levels, Fowler has enlisted the help of the legendary Barry Bonds this offseason for both workout and hitting advice, Goold details. On Bonds, Fowler said: “My whole mindset is if I’m going to learn from the best, I’m going to do everything that he says to do, and if I fail at it then I can always look back and say I did it. I did everything. I did everything and it’s not in the cards.” Goold’s full piece is worth checking out for more from Fowler.
Here’s more on the Redbirds, courtesy of Goold:
- Cardinals stalwart Yadier Molina underwent surgery Thursday to remove a bone spur from his left knee, Goold relays. After a two-week recovery, Molina should be ready to resume his typical offseason workouts, general manager Michael Girsch informed Goold. A healthy version of the franchise catcher is all the more important to St. Louis after it parted with young backstop Carson Kelly to acquire first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
- The commissioner’s office has suspended Cardinals pitching prospect Griffin Roberts 50 games after a second positive test for a drug of abuse, Goold reports. The 22-year-old Roberts, whom the Cardinals chose 43rd overall in last June’s draft, will serve his suspension at the start of next season. Now the Cardinals’ 10th-ranked prospect at MLB.com, the right-hander combined for 9 2/3 innings at the rookie and Double-A levels last season after the team drafted him.
- The Cardinals aren’t yet sure whether they’ll deploy righty Alex Reyes as a starter or a reliever in 2019, per Goold. Reyes, one of the most promising young pitchers in the sport, saw injuries derail his previous two seasons. The 24-year-old missed all of 2017 because of Tommy John surgery, and after returning to throw just four major league innings last season, he suffered a torn tendon in his right lat and had to go back under the knife. Fortunately, St. Louis expects Reyes to be “close to full speed” when spring training rolls around, Goold writes. Then, based on how Reyes looks in camp (and how the club constructs its rotation and bullpen), the Cardinals will decide on his role and whether he’ll begin the year in the majors.