MLB Free Agency: Best Options for Dexter Fowler

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The cold of winter won’t stop the MLB hot stove. For Dexter Fowler, plenty of suitors look to strike a deal. Many teams are interested, but today we look at the three best options for the World Series-winning outfielder.

As the MLB offseason rolls toward the Winter Meetings, we have yet to see many major roster moves. Many of the big-name free agents are still on the market with plenty of time left to go. However, players and agents have begun to meet with prospective teams, and many clubs have reportedly expressed interest in several key players. Last year, Dexter Fowler was a polar opposite of the free agent he is now. Fowler was not widely considered, and it wasn’t until late February that the veteran outfielder received some sort of offer. Fowler originally had a deal in place with Baltimore before re-signing with the Cubs.

This offseason, the amount of big-name free agents is incredibly low, which makes Fowler a huge target for potential suitors. Fowler is likely going to receive much recognition from a wide variety of teams. Fowler has stayed relatively consistent throughout his time with Colorado, Houston, and Chicago, which will certainly bode well for interested teams. The Cubs’ interest in Charlie Blackmon means Fowler is likely going to a new home, and there are several options for the 30-year-old outfielder.

Fowler brings the potential for stolen bases, a high walk rate, and a high on-base percentage. At 30 years old, his best years may still be ahead of him. Fowler has mainly played center field, but can also transition to right field if needed. With the Cubs likely out of the equation, it’s time to look at where Fowler could potentially go.

Here are the most likely suitors for outfielder Dexter Fowler:

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St. Louis Cardinals

Something was definitely off about the St. Louis Cardinals this season. For starters, the team had to deal with a plethora of injuries. The Cardinals were without Lance Lynn and Mitch Harris for the season. The team also dealt with injuries to Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta, Brandon Moss, Aledmys Diaz, Trevor Rosenthal, Matt Adams, Tommy Pham, Michael Wacha, Mike Leake, and Matt Holliday, with Holliday, Pham, and Moss’ injuries leaving holes in the outfield.

With Holliday and Moss set to depart, that leaves Pham and Stephen Piscotty starting in the outfield, with Randal Grichuk and Jose Martinez tossed in there as options for a platoon.

Considering Grichuk’s struggles which led to his demotion late last season, a signing of Fowler could definitely fill the void. Fowler’s signing could give Mike Matheny more options while structuring his outfield. He could man center field, with Piscotty manning right, Pham manning left, and Grichuk serving as the fourth outfielder.

This signing also gives Matheny more options to structure his lineup. Fowler can lead off, which could move Matt Carpenter to a more suitable position in the middle of the lineup. The possibilities could be endless, and it wouldn’t take too much for the Cardinals to sign Fowler. Fowler can be a crucial addition to the Cardinals lineup and could help keep the synergy within the batting order.

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Texas Rangers

This season, the Cubs weren’t the only team that was widely considered for the World Series. The Rangers went into the season with high expectations, coming off their successful 2015 campaign which saw the team overcome the Astros to clinch the AL West. While the Rangers did face stiff competition from Houston and Seattle, Texas clinched the playoffs with the best record in the American League.

In the playoffs, the Rangers were blanked by the Blue Jays as they were swept in the ALDS. With Ian Desmond, the Rangers’ starting center fielder in 2016, set to depart, this may be an opportunity for the Rangers to make a move for Dexter Fowler.

Fowler brings speed to an already speedy lineup. Unlike Desmond, Fowler is a natural outfielder, which eliminates some of the issues the Rangers had this season with Desmond. Desmond going to another team could allow him to transition back to his original position at shortstop. Fowler going to the Rangers adds a veteran to a team filled with a combination of veterans and up-and-coming stars. Considering Shin-Soo Choo‘s injury history, adding Fowler could definitely provide an improvement in center, with Delino DeShields Jr. and Nomar Mazara manning the corners.

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Baltimore Orioles

Last year, the Baltimore Orioles and Dexter Fowler were discussing a three-year contract before an issue arose with the deal. This led to the Cubs coming in shortly thereafter, signing Fowler to a one-year deal. Baltimore not signing Fowler didn’t necessarily hurt them, as they still managed to make it to the American League Wild Card Game. Going into the 2017 season with only Adam Jones and Hyun Soo Kim as mainstay starters in the outfield, the Orioles may be looking to add a fresh face.

This offseason, the Orioles may be an option in the Dexter Fowler sweepstakes despite the controversy regarding last year’s non-signing. Adam Jones manning center field would mean Fowler would likely shift over to right, with Kim shifting to left. Joey Rickard can be used as a fourth outfielder, with Christian Walker being an option as well. The Orioles don’t have much depth in the outfield with the potential departures of Mark Trumbo, Michael Bourn, and Steve Pearce, which would make Fowler an ideal candidate to fill one of the voids.

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