The top name on the list outfield bats right now is Dexter Fowler, who could end up playing for a number of teams. Returning to the Chicago Cubs is a possibility, but eventually playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers or the Chicago White Sox seems more likely.
Fowler hit a career high 17 home runs last season for the Cubs, his only season with the team (thus far), although most of his other hitting numbers are on decline: Batting .250, an OPS of .757 and his OBP at .346. All his hitting numbers besides slugging are at the lowest they’ve ever been for him since his first season in the majors, although without an actual injury holding him back, it’s not too far fetched to assume he can bounce back. One season which wasn’t that bad isn’t something a player can’t turn back from.
So where does Fowler end up? The Cardinals, Angels and White Sox seem to be the three teams most aggressively trying to add an outfielder recently, probably preferring Fowler to Austin Jackson. The Cardinals and Angels don’t mind paying Fowler the kind of money he made for the Cubs last season ($9.5 million) or maybe a bit more, depending on his demands. It’s a little bit more complicated for the White Sox, who haven’t been able to move Adam LaRoche, which seems to put them in something of a bind spending wise. The Rangers, like the White Sox, don’t seem to be in a position to win a bidding war with anyone.
Returning to the Cubs does seem unlikely because they’ve added Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist can play in the outfield as well (although he wasn’t signed to play in that position) but the free agency market sometimes leads into interesting and surprising directions. Fowler took a backseat to outfielders who were able to draw more interest and land huge contracts. It might mean that financially, he’ll have to settle.