Dexter Fowler hasn’t officially declined the $17.2 million qualifying offer from the Cubs. But he is expected to before Monday’s deadline. As baseball’s off-season enters week two, Fowler’s market appears to be increasing with the Cardinals at the top of a list of teams interested in signing him.
According to a report from Jim Bowden, the Cardinals are “going to make an all-out play for center fielder Dexter Fowler.” The Cardinals would like to “steal from the Cubs a year after” both Jason Heyward and John Lackey left St. Louis to play in Chicago.
The Cardinals see Fowler as the key to improving the outfield. Randal Grichuk would move to left. Stephen Piscotty would play right field with Matt Carpenter now at first base.
Another one of the Cubs long-time rivals, the New York Mets, are also interested in signing Fowler. The Mets are preparing for the loss of Yoenis Cespedes and if he leaves, Sandy Alderson could turn to Fowler or Jose Bautista according to a report from The Score that cited the New York Post as its source.
Three other teams have been connected to Fowler in recent days.
The Giants have been linked to Fowler rather heavily over the last week. The Giants have a need in the outfield with Angel Pagan no longer under contract.
It is unclear if the Blue Jays are still in the mix for Fowler and/or Josh Reddick after signing Kendrys Morales on Friday. And the Rangers are also believed to have interest in signing Fowler.
There is mutual interest in Fowler returning to the Cubs. Jed Hoyer said that the front office will stay in contact with Fowler’s agent throughout the process. Fowler is believed to be looking for a three- to four-year contract for around $14 million per year.
Fowler turns 31 in March. As was the case a year ago, most believe he will sign somewhere else this winter. Fowler increased his value this season while helping the Cubs win The World Series.
The Cubs are exploring ways to fill the void in center field and at the top of the lineup if Dexter Fowler goes to another team.