Another day another rumor in Blue Jays land as the story tonight is that the Blue Jays and Astros have talked about a trade involving outfielder Dexter Fowler. The switch-hitting player from Georgia has put up solid numbers offensively over the years even when accounting for the 5+ seasons he played at Coors Field in Colorado. Unfortunately the 14th round draft pick in the 2004 draft is absolutely awful on defence and nearly squashes all his offensive value with such bad numbers in the field. Jon Morosi had the tweet that broke the news of talks between the two teams:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Blue Jays have had trade discussions with Astros on Dexter Fowler. He is a switch-hitter; Jays would like to get more left-handed.</p>— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) <a href="https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/status/539966409523331072">December 3, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Almost all of Fowler's time in the major leagues has come in centre field which is shocking considering how consistently poor he is out there. In 2014 he racked up a -36.2 UZR/150, which was the worst number among qualified players last year. Since it's nearly Christmas, let's get in the spirit by using the holiday colours to look at his missed plays:
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=spray&num=1&h=450&w=450&players=4062&position=OF&mt=fielding&ss=2014&se=2014&cht=fielding_mm&pos=ALL&vs=ALL" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/spraycharts.aspx?playerid=4062&position=OF&type=fielding&ss1=2014&se1=2014&cht1=fielding_mm&pos1=ALL&vs1=ALL">FanGraphs</a></span>
Thankfully, we know that the Blue Jays are planning to run out Dalton Pompey in centre field next year anyway meaning Fowler would likely stick to left. Although he'd still be a liability in Melky Cabrera's former position, he wouldn't be hurting the team as much as if he was in Pompey's spot.
The former super-two player (who actually was signed for two years by Colorado instead of going through the arbitration process) has a service time of 5.168 years and is projected to earn $9.0 million in his final go-around of arbitration. For a guy that has put up WAR totals of 2.3, 2.1, and 1.4 in 2012, 2013, and 2014, it certainly wouldn't be horrible value. As you'll recall, Fowler was traded almost precisely a year ago in the swap with the Rockies that involved Jordan Lyles. It's tough to say what the Astros will be looking for in return, but the fairly pricey outfielder shouldn't command too large of a return.
Morosi's tweet mentions the Jays desire to get more left-handed, but the switch-hitter actually is much worse hitting from the left side of the plate. Over the course of his career, Fowler has a 118 wRC+ against lefties and a 102 wRC+ against righties so his value as a left-handed hitter is pretty limited. It's a name to keep an eye on at the very least.