It’s Feb. 10, pitchers and catchers report to camps in Arizona and Florida next week and the player that hit .272/.389/.463 with a .852 OPS at the top of Joe Maddon’s lineup in the second half last season is still looking for a job.
According to a report from Scott Merkin, the White Sox “continue to look at free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler and shortstop Ian Desmond.” The Sox would not sign both players that are attached to draft pick compensation. Adding one of the two to the roster would cost Rick Hahn the compensation pick the Sox received for Jeff Samardzija signing with the Giants.
Fowler’s market did not develop as some in the game thought it would. Fowler’s asking price (three to four years at $15 million per season) is believed to have hurt him early in the off-season and now teams that could use Fowler do not want to surrender a draft pick.
The Cubs have not closed the door on re-signing Fowler and won’t as long as he is still available. The Cubs could use a leadoff hitter but do not appear interested in him, even on a one-year deal with an option.
According to A.J. Cassavell there “are many reasons why he’d be a perfect fit for the five-six teams still in search for an outfielder.” Cassavell thinks Fowler could help the White Sox, Angels, Indians and Cardinals.
Not only could each of the four teams (White Sox, Angels, Indians, Cardinals) benefit from adding an outfielder to their roster, Fowler would help set the table for offenses led by Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier on the South Side and Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in Anaheim.
ESPN also feels Fowler makes sense for the White Sox, especially if they shifted him to a corner outfield spot. David Schoenfield pointed out that while the Cubs “soured on his ability to play center field,” Fowler would likely be an upgrade over Avisail Garcia.
The Orioles and Rangers have also been linked to Fowler. Baltimore appears focused on Yovani Gallardo and if Dan Duquette lets his first round draft pick go it would be to sign a starting pitcher, not a centerfielder that would have to move to a corner spot. Adam Jones has center field locked down.
The Cubs will benefit from Dexter Fowler signing with a team due to the draft pick compensation.
By signing John Lackey and Jason Heyward, the Cubs lost their first two picks in June’s Draft. As it currently stands, the Cubs would not pick until the third round (Pick No. 104). When Fowler signs with another team, the Cubs would in essence get their second round pick (and slot money) back. The Cubs would forfeit their first round pick and compensation pick for signing Lackey and Heyward.
It appears Dexter Fowler will have to remain patient and let front offices see what their rosters actually look like when the exhibition games begin before he’s able to sign with a team.