There's a lot to unpack here. First, thanks for being a subscriber. Much appreciated. We all know that we have to respond to your investment with the coverage you expect -- and improving the coverage all the time.
Second, I try to avoid back-and-forths with other writers, except maybe on Twitter (right?), and want to be respectful of the opinions presented and defended there. I don't agree with the premise that this spring hasn't gone well for Dexter Fowler. We must be watching different springs. His batting average is low, for sure. He hasn't taken a walk until recently. And doesn't that tell you something about what he's doing? He's swinging a lot. He's trying to show that he has the bat speed and the health and the things the Cardinals wondered about, and now he'll start taking those walks too. His average exit velocity this spring on hard-hit balls is above his high of the past season. He's move better at this point in right field than we saw him at any point this past year. These are all things that you can see watching the games -- and it's OK if you disagree with my view of this. Let me add, however, that I spoke to a scout who had the same view of Fowler's movements in the field and running, and how livelier it looked compared to last year when it appeared that he was playing on a planet with greater gravity. Now, the view of his swing changes depending on who you ask and when they saw him. He's had drives to left, right, and right-center in the past week that he just did not have last year. The Cardinals wanted to see Fowler play with health and authority. They've seen that.
Third, that doesn't change the fact that, sure, a reckoning is coming with the Cardinals and their outfielders galore because spring stats don't carry over -- and all parties agree that starting strong is important for Fowler. So, I would argue those "screws" were already "tightened" because no matter what Fowler did in spring training he was going to be judged on what he does in the season. That is the commitment the team has made to him.
So, I don't agree with the premise, and I'm sure now I'll get blowback for that. And the author or anyone else with that strong blog, Viva el Birdos as founded by the excellent Larry Borowsky, is welcome to enter the chat and take it up with me, or find me on Twitter. I'm available.
Fourth, the outfield should have been the best in the division last year. It was not. Sagging performances from all three outfielders. This year there are concerns about the offense coming from the outfield, for sure, and that's important because it will determine the makeup. Harrison Bader starts in center as long as the corners are producing, and if they are not then a shakeup may be needed because as a group the Cardinals need a mix of power (Ozuna), OBP (Fowler), and speed (Bader) for the lineup so that the OPS can come from Carpenter and Goldschmidt and possibly DeJong to make a difference and have a lineup with depth.