This weekend a year ago was a somewhat bleak, borderline funereal weekend for St. Louis Cardinals fans. On that Friday, Jason Heyward signed with the Chicago Cubs. Cardinals fans felt abandoned and that the 2016 season was already slipping away from them.
And in retrospect, this was ridiculous. Sure, the Cubs ran away with the division, but it was in spite of Heyward, not because of him. Despite remaining an elite fielder and base runner, Jason Heyward was certainly overpaid for his contributions in 2016, and the Cardinals were better off not having signed him.
This year was different—the Cardinals, instead, took a player from the Cubs (admittedly, the Cubs had made only a superficial effort to re-sign Fowler, seemingly preferring further immersion of Albert Almora, the return of Kyle Schwarber, the addition of Jon Jay, the occasional outfield appearances of Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist...okay, the Cubs have unfair outfield depth).
Fowler spoke favorably of the Cubs, something that even a hardened Cardinals partisan should acknowledge was perfectly fine, but also went out of his way to endear himself to St. Louis. He posted an adorable picture of his daughter in a Cardinals hat on Instagram, chatting with Adam Wainwright and Kolten Wong on Twitter, and generally basking in the warm glow of excited new fans.
While Fowler’s affability may help him avoid being truly despised, the honeymoon will certainly end if his performance suffers. But for now...for now, this is fun.
Friday was the day of Fowler overload on VEB, but this weekend, we diversified our interests and looked at other things. After all we can’t just get excited about Dexter Fowler (well, we can; we just didn’t).
Ben Markham decided to ruin everybody’s fantasies by explaining why the Cardinals should not pursue former Toronto Blue Jays first baseman slash designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion. Ben notes Encarnacion as a poor defensive fit for a team with a notably high ground ball rate and as a hitter who may potentially decline in the next few years.
The red baron wrote about Allen Cordoba, the Cardinals minor leaguer whom the Cardinals lost to the San Diego Padres in last week’s Rule 5 draft. He also included a picture of Fredbird chasing Pikachu around Busch Stadium, for some reason.