Late in the offseason, the Baltimore Orioles seem to be on the verge of completing an impressive double move, which will conclude with the signing of Dexter Fowler. The Texas Rangers are also interested in making some outfield improvements, but on their sights is something a lot more modest, looking into signing Drew Stubbs.
The Orioles are the big movers and shakers of the last few days. Having completed the signing of Yovani Gallardo (who last played for the Rangers) which meant losing a draft pick, they’re not resting and are trying to beat everyone else to Fowler, the best player left on the market. Gallardo was signed to a three-year, $35 million deal. Fowler is reportedly going to sign something along the lines of a two-year, $24 million contract.
If Fowler does sign, the Orioles add a very productive hitter to centerfield who should be a very useful leadup man to the likes of Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Manny Machado, while allowing Mike Trumbo to fill the designated hitter. Not that Fowler is a defensive phenom, but he’s better than Trumbo. His OBP last season (.346) might be the lowest of his career, but the Orioles are counting on it being a down year (which wasn’t so bad overall), and by getting him providing an excellent option for their big hitters to clean up through.
Fowler spent one season with the Cubs, hitting a career best 17 home runs while batting .250 and posting a .757 OPS. He’s been in the majors since 2008, playing for the Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros and Cubs before what should be an arrival at Baltimore, although there have been plenty of teams looking into the option of signing him, including the Cubs themselves, thinking about bringing him back. Right now it seems like the Orioles have an advantage over the rest.
The Rangers seem to be dealing with more modest pickings, and are looking to bring back Stubbs, who spent 27 games with them last season playing some outfield and even a bit of designated hitter. Stubbs, 31, will only be signed if he takes a minor league role, like the one he signed with the Rangers last season. He had just 26 plate appearances last season for the Rangers, hitting an .095 but doesn’t really mean anything with such a small sample size.
He had a very good 2014 for the Rockies (15 home runs, batting .289, .821 OPS) but he got released by them during the 2015 season after a .216/.286/.431 across 51 games. With the market for Stubbs pretty cold and the Rangers not really in competition for anyone of higher quality, an incentive filled contract should be the way to go for both sides, with Stubbs hoping he breaks through the minor league once again.