5:59pm: The teams have announced the trade. To make room for Fowler on their 40-man roster, the Pirates placed southpaw Austin Davis on the 60-day injured list with a left elbow sprain.
4:28pm: The Pirates have acquired outfielder Dustin Fowler from the Athletics for cash considerations, according to Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic. Fowler spent a brief time in limbo after the A’s designated him for assignment Monday.
Pittsburgh will be the third big league organization for the 26-year-old Fowler, who began as an 18th-round pick of the Yankees in 2013. Fowler performed well as a minor leaguer with the Yankees and made his major league debut with the team in June 2017, but he suffered a brutal knee injury in his first game and never donned their uniform again. The Yankees wound up trading Fowler to the A’s a month later in the teams’ deal centering on right-hander Sonny Gray.
Fowler ranked as Baseball America’s 88th-best prospect in 2018, and he rebounded from his injury that year in Triple-A, where he batted .341/.364/.520 with four home runs in 13 stolen bases across 239 plate appearances. While Fowler also earned a good amount of playing time in Oakland that season, he slumped to a .224/.256/.354 line with six homers and a half-dozen steals in 203 PA and hasn’t appeared in the majors since. Fowler slashed .277/.333/.477 with 25 homers and 12 stolen bags over 606 tries during the most recent Triple-A campaign in 2019.
Although Fowler’s career hasn’t gone according to plan so far, there’s no real harm in taking a chance on his potential from the Pirates’ standpoint. Fowler may have a legitimate chance to earn a roster spot with outfielder-needy Pittsburgh, but with no minor league options remaining, the club won’t be able to send him down without potentially losing him.