SARASOTA, Fla. – Dan Duquette found out earlier on Thursday that Dexter Fowler wasn’t going to sign with the Orioles. Two days after Fowler supposedly agreed to a three-year $33 contract, he shockingly re-signed with the Chicago Cubs.
Fowler, who played in 2015 with the Cubs, is back with Chicago on a one-year contract with an option for 2017. He gets $8 million in salary with a $5 million option and a $9 million option for 2017.
The Orioles thought they had an agreement with the 29-year-old Fowler, but club officials cautioned that the deal with Fowler was not official.
“We made a very competitive offer. The issue was the opt-out. The Orioles have made it clear that that type of deal wouldn't really work for us. Based on that it sounds to me like he wanted to return to Chicago,” Duquette said.
“We made a very competitive offer. There was not an agreement to terms because they kept insisting on an opt-out. I don't see, club ownership, doesn’t see the value in that type of arrangement to the Orioles. If we are going to guarantee a contract, it should be a contract.”
The Orioles have been asked about opt-outs before, and they’ve always said they didn’t work for them.
“I don’t see the advantage of the team. I don’t see the advantage to the team of guaranteeing the money and allowing the player to have a free look at the market. Either you’re going to play the market or you’re going to commit to a team. Frankly, I think it’s better for our fans. Our fans want to know that the guys that are playing for the Orioles are playing for the Orioles, that they’re committed to the team. And I believe that that’s the right way to operate the team as a business,” Fowler said.
Manager Buck Showalter said he wasn’t stunned that Fowler went away.
“I didn’t feel like it was close,” Showalter said. “It was a guy we were talking to.”
It continues a dizzying time with the Orioles and the team is now still looking for a right fielder for 2016.
The in-house candidates still include Dariel Alvarez, L.J. Hoes, Nolan Reimold, Rule 5 draft choice Joey Rickard, and Henry Urrutia.
If the Orioles go the free agent route, they could sign David Murphy, Will Venable or Shane Victorino to play right. Mark Trumbo could play right and the Orioles could try and sign Pedro Alvarez to be the designated hitter.