Chicago Cubs still have interest in retaining Dexter Fowler

The offseason knows no rest. Still fresh off a World Series championship, it’s time for the Chicago Cubs to start making the necessary moves to ensure success in 2017.

As he went, so did the Chicago Cubs. But with Dexter Fowler declining the qualifying offer extended to him, who will the Cubs turn to for their center field duties? Well, it could potentially still be Fowler.

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, Jed Hoyer, the Cubs’ general manager, has stated that the team will make efforts to re-sign Fowler. Fowler surprised the baseball world last season when he unexpectedly rejoined the Chicago Cubs after he was believed to have joined the Baltimore Orioles.

This was, in large part, due to the fact that his value on last year’s free agent market never quite materialized like he had planned.

A free agent once again, Fowler is now expected to be one of the most sought-after outfielders on the market. He will likely fetch a hefty contract this offseason.

Though his fielding metrics have fluctuated throughout his career, Fowler is widely considered to be a solid defensive player. His most recent season with the Cubs reinforces that belief, as Fowler, shined in center field for Chicago in 2016.

Don’t rule out a return to the Cubs

$17.2 million is a great year’s salary for any major league player, but at 31-years-old, now is not the time for Fowler to gamble on one year. Now is the time for him to take advantage of the lucrative contract that he’s likely to get.

In 2016 Fowler recorded a slash line of .276/.393/.447. With numbers like that out of a leadoff hitter, Chicago would love to keep Fowler aboard. Numbers aside, team chemistry is an underlying reason why the Cubs found so much success in 2016, and Dexter Fowler is a big part of that. The center fielder is beloved by fans and teammates alike.

Entering his age-31 season, Fowler has shown no signs of regression, both at the plate and in the field. In fact, he’s gotten slightly better. A leadoff hitter with a career OBP of .366 is not easy to come by. Teams will be lining up this time around to employ him.

The bottom line is that Dexter Fowler has earned the money that’s about to come to him. He has to do what he believes is best for himself and his family. The only question is if the Cubs can be the team that gives him the money it would require to sign him.

If he does choose the Cubs, he would likely have to take slightly less money than he would get from other teams. But not too much less. Fowler has immensely enjoyed his time in Chicago and is extremely well-liked by his teammates, so it’s plausible that he could sacrifice a small amount to stay.

Whatever his decision, Cubs fans should be grateful for the time he spent in Chicago. He’s a big part of why Chicago won the World Series. His contributions to this team and the city of Chicago will not soon be forgotten. Wherever he ends up, fans should wish nothing but the best for him.

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