Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Cubs filled a need for an experienced center fielder on Monday, acquiring Dexter Fowler from the Houston Astros as part of a three-player trade.
The Cubs sent infielder Luis Valbuena and pitcher Dan Straily to Houston for Fowler, who hit .276 with eight home runs, 35 RBI, 11 stolen bases and a .375 on-base percentage in his lone season with the Astros in 2014.
Fowler spent the previous six seasons with Colorado before being dealt to the Astros in December of 2013. The 28-year-old switch-hitter, scheduled to be a free agent after the 2015 campaign, owns a .271 career average with 48 homers, 57 triples, 94 steals and 245 RBI over 783 major league games. He led the majors with 14 triples with the Rockies in 2010.
Houston had a potential logjam in the outfield after acquiring slugger Evan Gattis from Atlanta last week.
Valbuena served as Chicago's regular third baseman in 2014 and posted career bests of 16 homers and 51 RBI along with a .249 average in 149 games. His departure helps clear a path for top prospect Kris Bryant, last season's minor league home run champion, to take over at the position in the near future.
Houston's everyday third baseman last season, Matt Dominguez, hit just .215 overall and .204 against right-handers.
Straily finished fourth in voting for the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year award after compiling a 10-8 record with a 3.96 ERA in 27 starts for Oakland that year. The right-hander struggled after coming to the Cubs from the Athletics as part of last summer's trade for Jeff Samardzija, however, allowing 20 runs (18 earned) and 20 hits in 13 2/3 innings over seven appearances.
The 26-year-old Straily has gone 13-12 with a 4.54 ERA over 48 games (42 starts) in the majors.