Another free agency status report, another mention of Dexter Fowler who remains the best hitter and outfielder in the market, with plenty of teams interested or those who could make some good use of the centerfielder, with his team from last season, the Chicago Cubs, in the mix alongside the St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers.
Fowler isn’t coming off his best season, but he was still pretty good for the Cubs in his first (and only?) season there, batting .250 with a .757 OPS while hitting a career high 17 home runs. He had more productive seasons in Houston and Colorado, but after declining his qualifying offer (mistake?) it did look like he’d be gone off the market before the second week of February.
But Fowler is still here. His demands (made $9.5 million last season and probably looking for around $11-12 million on a long term deal) could be keeping him from getting a team to pick him up. He can play other positions as well. But there is a sense that teams aren’t in a hurry to sign second-tier veterans to long term deals, when they feel they don’t upgrade their team by too much.
The Cubs and White Sox seem to be the closest to him and both are in contact with him. But the Cubs made a big outfield signing already and aren’t in a hurry to keep Fowler, who’d have a smaller role than in last season, when he played as the leadoff hitter. The White Sox seem to be very cautious in how they spend their money, even if Fowler isn’t as expensive as other outfielders they’ve been after.
While the Giants have already made one outfield addition that should be putting to rest any links they have with players like Fowlers, something suggests they might not be done adding players if the right opportunity comes up. The Cardinals, Indians and Rangers have all been interested in adding a bit of power and hitting quality. Both the Rangers and Indians are on a tight budget, while the Cardinals, despite their ability to spend, haven’t been successful when pursuing most of the free agents this offseason. At this point, they’re not that keen in going after Fowler, even if he’s a pretty evident upgrade to what they have.