Dexter Fowler to decline mutual option for 2017, will test free agency … Cubs, Dexter Fowler open to a return
As expected, Dexter Fowler will decline his half of the $9 million mutual option for the 2017 season and become a free agent. The Cubs will pay Fowler the $5 million buyout and basically turn his $8 million salary for the 2016 season into a one-year, $13 million deal for the recently completed season.
The Cubs re-signed Dexter Fowler to a team friendly one-year contract in the spring. Fowler helped the Cubs accomplish their ultimate goal. Fowler wanted to be part of the team that won it all. And the Cubs are The World Series Champions.
Dexter Fowler and Jed Hoyer confirmed Friday he will decline his part of the mutual option. Fowler and the Cubs are interested in him returning for next season and beyond. Fowler is looking for a multi-year contract with an AAV that is expected to exceed $14 million.
It is unclear if Fowler has language in his contract that would prevent the Cubs from making him a qualifying offer for next season. According to Jon Heyman, the Cubs plan to make Fowler the $17.2 million qualifying offer. Teams have until Monday (Nov. 7, 4:00pm CST) to submit qualifying offers to upcoming free agents. Players have until Nov. 14 (4:00pm CST) to accept or decline the one-year contract.
Fowler broke the news on ESPN on Thursday night prior to the Cubs victory parade and rally. Fowler and Hoyer confirmed the centerfielder’s plans Friday morning.
“I’m definitely going to be a free agent, but hopefully it happens a little bit quicker than last year. You can’t control what goes on, but I loved my time in Chicago and I’m definitely not counting them out, but we’ll see what God has planned for us now.”
Fowler batted .290/.398/.483 with 19 doubles, three triples and seven home runs for a .881 OPS in his first 64 games of the season. Fowler earned his trip to San Diego. But a hamstring injury kept him on the DL and from playing in the All-Star game. When he returned, the Cubs took off and Fowler batted .261/.387/.408 with six doubles, four triples and six home runs for a .795 OPS.
In 125 games, Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 25 doubles, seven triples and 13 home runs for a .840 OPS. Fowler walked 79 times with 124 strikeouts and 84 runs scored.
Dexter Fowler turns 31 next spring (March 22). In his two years with the Cubs, Fowler hit .261/.367/.427 with 54 doubles, 15 triples and 30 home runs for a .794 OPS.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 3, 2016
Dexter Fowler figures to be in high-demand this off-season and should at least sign a three-year contract similar to the one he reportedly had in place with the Orioles before he re-signed with the Cubs.
According to Bob Nightengale, there could be “a bidding war” between the Cardinals and Giants, and maybe other teams for Fowler. The Cardinals were rumored to have a lot of interest in signing him last winter. The Tigers are another team believed to have interest in Dexter Fowler.