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Cardinals sign Dexter Fowler to 5-year, $82.5 million deal

Fowler bet on himself by signing a 1-year deal last year, but finally cashed in on the free-agent market this winter.

MLB: World Series-Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals have agreed to a 5-year, $82.5 million deal with outfielder Dexter Fowler, as first reported by KSDK’s Frank Cusumano and Ken Rosenthal of FOX. The deal was announced at a press conference in St. Louis on Friday.

The Cardinals have been a likely suitor for Fowler for most of the offseason. The 30-year old reportedly was looking for a 4- or 5-year deal on the open market after settling for a single-year pact with the Cubs last winter, and got a massive deal from St. Louis.

Fowler is the second major addition for the Cards this offseason, joining reliever Brett Cecil, who signed a 4-year, $30.5 million deal with the club last month. Fowler also was linked to the Orioles and Blue Jays throughout free agency, and reportedly received a 4-year, $60 million offer from Toronto.

Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers and 13 steals as the starting center-fielder for the World Series champions, and will now head to their archrival. Fowler has appeared with three teams (the Rockies, Astros and Cubs) over nine major-league seasons, and was expected to depart Chicago once the Cubs signed Jon Jay.

Fowler’s decision to leave the Cubs for the Cardinals comes just a year after two Cardinals -- Jason Heyward and John Lackey -- left for Chicago. The move is sure to revive the rivalry between the two clubs, both of which are slated to be serious contenders in 2017.