Toronto Blue Jays add Dexter Fowler in low-risk depth move

Dexter Fowler and the Toronto Blue Jays have had their names intertwined for years. Now the veteran outfielder will finally be joining the team that tried to trade for him all the way back in 2014.

This time, however, Dexter Fowler coming to the Toronto Blue Jays won’t be as a star addition, but rather as a depth piece in an already loaded outfield

It was during the offseason leading up to the 2015 campaign when the first rumors of the Toronto Blue Jays being interested in Dexter Fowler first appeared, with the Blue Jays and Astros reportedly having talks about a swap when Fowler was with Houston. Just under two years later, the Blue Jays reportedly offered Fowler a contract in the neighborhood of four years and $60 million. Fowler would reject Toronto and head to the St. Louis Cardinals where he would underwhelm in four seasons under the Gateway Arch, slashing .233/.334/.408 with an OPS+ of 98.

Fowler played in just seven games in 2021 with the Los Angeles Angels before suffering an ACL injury (against the Blue Jays, by the way) and missing the rest of the season.

Now Fowler, who celebrated his 36th birthday on March 22, is trying to get back on an MLB roster, and he’ll seemingly have a tough time doing it in Toronto by signing a minor league deal with an invitation to big league camp. Toronto’s outfield is talent-packed already, including the newly acquired Raimel Tapia, who came over in a trade from the Colorado Rockies (where Fowler began his career in 2008) so Fowler has his work cut out for him in terms of his place on the depth chart.

Could Fowler start the season at Triple-A? It’s not unheard of for a veteran player, and that option would give the Blue Jays a chance to not only see what he can still bring to the game, but also if he could be a fit if and when he is needed in Toronto. With Fowler joining the Blue Jays so late, it’s a real possibility.

That is one scenario. However, there is another.

MLB’s expanded rosters to start the season could bode well for the switch-hitting Fowler and the Blue Jays. A veteran bat off the bench who can fill in where needed in the outfield may be given a chance to show from the start of the season what he can do for the organization. Knowing rosters will be shaved back down on May 1 gives both Fowler and the Blue Jays a chance to see if this is the right fit and can be a sustainable relationship for the entire season.

Whatever happens with Fowler, signing him to a minor league deal is a high-reward, low-risk move for a team that has figured out ways to boost its roster throughout the offseason.