Dexter Fowler’s market appears to have gotten a little smaller than it already was. The Giants were one of the teams believed to have interest in Fowler and San Francisco went another direction Thursday.
The Giants signed Denard Span to a three-year, $31 million contract that includes a mutual option for a fourth year and a $5 million incentives package. With Span on board, the Giants are not expected to make any more additions to their outfield.
The Mets were reportedly interested in Fowler before inking Alejandro De Aza. It seems the draft pick compensation tied to Fowler and possibly his asking price has kept him from signing with a team to this point of the off-season. Reports have indicated Fowler is looking for a four-year contract in the $60 million range.
The Nationals, Padres and Marlins are three teams that have been linked to Fowler this winter, along with the Cubs. Fowler was in the Bay Area this week not to visit with the Giants but to work with Barry Bonds as he’s done in previous off-seasons. The connection with Bonds is why some feel the Marlins could be a landing spot for Fowler.
Fowler had a solid season with the Cubs and produced closer to expectations in the second half. For the year, Fowler hit .250/.346/.411 with 29 doubles, eight triples ad 17 home runs for a .757 OPS. In the second half, Fowler batted .272/.389/.463 with 16 doubles, four triples and nine home runs for a .852 OPS in 71 games. Right-handed against left-handers, Fowler hit .326/.399/.467 with seven doubles and four home runs for a .865 OPS last season while batting .228/.331/.395 with 22 doubles, eight triples and 13 home runs for a .726 OPS versus right-handers.
With Alex Gordon and Denard Span inking deals this week, the outfield market should continue to take shape throughout the weekend as Fowler, Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra try to find teams.
The Dodgers announced Thursday signing RHP Kenta Maeda and he was introduced at a press conference around the same time Mike Piazza was telling the national media he was going into The Hall as a Met. To make room on the 40-man roster for Maeda, the Dodgers designated former Cubs’ farmhand INF Ronald Torreyes for assignment.
Maeda signed an eight-year, $25 million contract that is loaded with performance bonuses. The Dodgers needed a way to protect themselves and Maeda is betting on himself to stay healthy. If Maeda maxes out his incentives the contract will pay him $106.2 million. The Dodgers also have to pay the $20 million release fee to the Hiroshima Carp.
According to multiple reports, it wasn’t the physical he took with the Dodgers that created the red flags about his right elbow. Maeda sent the results of a physical he had to teams and that physical is what limited his market. Maeda acknowledged there “were issues with his physical.”
Ken Gurnick reported it is likely Maeda will need Tommy John surgery at some point.
If he is healthy enough to pitch, it will be interesting to see if Kenta Maeda reaches the ceiling of a No. 2 or No. 3 starter or if he becomes an effective fifth starter, like most think he will, in the majors.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Patrick Mooney reported the youth movement will pay off for the Cubs in 2016.
• Hector Rondon provided better results in tough situations than he’s given credit for last season.
• The Pelicans are helping a staffer carry out a lifelong dream.
• Eno Sarris explained why the Cubs shouldn’t trade Jorge Soler on ESPN.com.
• The Cubs claimed RHP Ryan Cook off waivers from the Red Sox in early November but did not tender him a contract for next season on Dec. 2. Cook elected free agency and landed with a team Thursday. According to Jon Heyman, Cook signed a split deal with the Mariners that will pay him $1.1 million if he’s in the majors and $300,000 if he’s in the minors.
• Jon Heyman reported the Rockies are among the teams “making a push” for free agent outfielder Gerardo Parra.
• The Royals signed RHP Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract.
• The White Sox would like to sign an outfielder but have not changed their stance, according to Bob Nightengale. The Sox “won’t give more than three years to any of the free agent outfielders.”
• Mike Rizzo told the Nationals beat writers that the team likes both Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen. And the Nationals would not be trading one of the relievers just to get the player of the roster.
• The Nationals are “happy” with Michael Taylor in center field. Mike Rizzo said they “would add outfield depth if they saw a good opportunity.”
• Milton Bradley was denied a request for reduced jail time.
This Day in Cubstory
2014 – Greg Maddux was elected to the Hall of Fame. Maddux’s career began in Chicago and he bookended an 11-year run in Atlanta with the Cubs. Maddux was 133-112 over 10 seasons with the Cubs and posted a 3.61 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 3.52 FIP. Maddux recorded his 300th win and 3,000th strikeout in a Cubs’ uniform.
2011 – Cubs acquired Matt Garza, Fernando Perez and Zac Rosscup from the Rays for Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Hak-Ju Lee, Robinson Chirinos and Sam Fuld
2008 – Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage was elected to the Hall of Fame. Gossage pitched only one year with the Cubs. In 1988, Goose was 4-4 in 46 games with a 4.33 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and 3.52 FIP with 13 saves.
2003 – Cubs signed free agent Felix Martinez
2003 – Cubs signed free agent Dave Veres
1998 – Cubs signed free agent Ben VanRyn
1997 – Cubs signed free agent Ben VanRyn
1993 – Cubs signed free agent Dave Smith
1992 – Cubs signed free agent Jamie Moyer
1991 – Ferguson Jenkins was elected to the Hall of Fame. Jenkins was acquired from the Phillies along with John Hernstein and Adolfo Phillips for Bob Buhl and Larry Jackson on April 21, 1966. Jenkins had two stints with the Cubs (1966-73, 1982-83) and was 167-132 in 401 games, 347 starts, for the Cubs. Jenkins posted a 3.20 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 3.06 FIP during those 10 seasons with the Cubs. Jenkins is one of only four pitchers in the history of the game (Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling) to retire with at least 3000 strikeouts (3192) and less than 1000 walks (997).
1986 – James Russell, born
1975 – Geremi Gonzalez, born
1958 – Cubs signed free agent Ted Tappe
1953 – Bruce Sutter, born
1921 – Marv Rickert, born
1915 – Walker Cooper, born