Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon termed the situation between former Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler and the Cardinals as “unfortunate” amid the inflamed dialogue expressed Monday by Cardinals president John Mozeliak.
“I love Dexter,” Maddon said of Fowler, who has been relegated to a bench role less than two seasons after signing an $82.5 million five-year contract.
Maddon added, “He’s effervescent. He is gregarious. He always lit up the room when he walked in. That’s how I see Dex. He and I had great conversations all the time. I don’t have any idea what’s going on there in St. Louis. I just know my personal relationship with him is outstanding.”
While the center-fielder bats .171 with five home runs and 20 RBIs this season, Fowler is known for aiding the Cubs in winning a World Series title in 2016.
Mozeliak was candid in his assessment of Fowler on a podcast with Cardinals announcer Dan McLaughlin. “I’ve also had a lot of people come up to me and question his effort and energy level,” Mozeliak said. “Those are things I can’t defend. What I can defend is trying to create opportunities for him, but not if it’s at the expense of someone that’s out there hustling and playing hard.”
Mozeliak later tempered some of his comments in an interview highlighted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.