The Astros fulfilled one of their offseason goals on Tuesday, acquiring switch-hitting outfielder Dexter Fowler and a player to be named from the Rockies in exchange for starting pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes in Houston's first major move of the winter.
The arrival of Fowler, who spent the previous six seasons patrolling the spacious center field of Coors Field, gives the Astros an impact offensive player who will likely hit at the top of their lineup and take over as the starter in center at Minute Maid Park in 2014.
Fowler, 27, hit .263 with 18 doubles, 12 home runs, 42 RBIs, 19 stolen bases, 65 walks and a .369 on-base percentage in 119 games with Colorado last season, starting 106 games in center. In 2012, he hit .300 in 143 games with a .389 on-base percentage.
"We're happy about it," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "We've been working on it for more than a few days now, and I think it really fits with our offseason strategy. We want to focus on pitching, but we want to be able to bring in an offensive catalyst, and I think this type of player for us is ideal. ... It's a pretty exciting overall package for us."
Fowler will be in the second year of a two-year contract that will pay him $7.35 million in '14, and he has one remaining year of arbitration left in 2015 before he can become a free agent. He'll easily become the Astros' highest-paid player, backing up the club's commitment to spend some money this winter.
Philip Kossoy here...Houston made out well here in acqiring a quality top of the order hitter with some power and a top quality Centerfielder. Happy for those Astros fans as they really never have much to cheer about.