Chicago Cubs: Dexter Fowler’s return to Cubs set the tone for 2016

Soon after the Chicago Cubs were eliminated by the New York Mets, their leadoff hitter opted for free agency. Rejecting a qualifying offer, opening the door for another veteran to join the organization.

Dexter Fowler

OF, Chicago Cubs

A-

456 AB, 84 R, 126 H, 25 2B, 7 3B, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 13 SB, .276 AVG, .983 FDPCT

When the Chicago Cubs went out and signed Jason Heyward, the projected lineup had the former Cardinal out in center field. A position that Dexter Fowler took over when he was acquired from the Houston Astros.

One trade that involved infielder Luis Valbuena and pitcher Dan Straily. Valbuena filled in at third base long before Kris Bryant made his big league debut. Valbuena developed into a solid hitter, continuing his power surge with Houston.

However, Fowler provided the Cubs with a valuable leadoff bat, helping the Cubs reach the NLCS for the first time since 2003. As mentioned before, Chicago’s miracle season came to an end.

Once it was time for the Cubs to get back to work, reports of Fowler signing with the Baltimore Orioles began to surface. Those later proved to be false when he arrived in Mesa, Arizona after agreeing to another one-year deal.

With his return to the Cubs, the lineup looked different. Having him back in his normal position, moving Heyward over to right field — this was a dangerous lineup.

The massive run differential proved it and it seemed like whenever Fowler led off a game with a hit, the Cubs would win.

Unfinished Business

Fowler let everyone know that he felt like he had unfinished business with the Chicago Cubs. Reaching the NLCS in his first year, Dexter knew he had to give it at least one more shot at winning a World Series with this club.

That is exactly what he did. Although, his bat was rather quiet in the first round of the playoffs, finishing the LDS 2-for-15. In Game 1 of the LCS, he followed up Miguel Montero‘s grand slam with a solo home run out to right field.

His first of two postseason home runs helped provide the Cubs with an early 1-0 series lead over the Dodgers. Dexter went hitless in Game 2 but went a combined 7-for-18 after, slashing .333/.333/.556.

World Series

For the second time this postseason, Dexter found himself struggling to reach base. His first hit of the World Series came in Game 2, racking up three combined hits in Game 3 and Game 4 at Wrigley Field.

And then you have Game 7. The man who had dominated the Cubs in the series, Corey Kluber, was on the mound yet again. Instead of cruising through the first inning, Kluber gave up a leadoff home run to Fowler.

Dexter sent a towering fly ball out to center field, rounding the bases and shouting at his teammates. This home run sparked an offensive explosion.

Following Chicago’s World Series victory, other opportunities presented themselves to Fowler as he appeared on Saturday Night Live. Not to mention, he received a large contract from the Cardinals that will give him $14.5 million over the next five years.

Having him in another uniform hurts but we are always going to be thankful for what he accomplished with the Cubs. He has received nothing but love from fellow fans since jumping ship to our division rivals which says a lot.

We still love Dexter Fowler.

This article originally appeared on

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