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Making the case for the Orioles to sign Dexter Fowler

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Making the case for the Orioles to sign Dexter Fowler

I’ve had three months to think about Yovani Gallardo. Dexter Fowler, not very long.

In this long, action-packed offseason where the Orioles have been mentioned with so many free agents, there’s plenty of time to delve into free agents’ stats and backgrounds.

Gallardo’s name has come up almost since the start of free agency. It’s just that Fowler’s hasn’t. 

It’s long been assumed the Orioles wanted to keep their draft choices, and having the 14th pick in the draft was a valuable one.

After all, it doesn’t appear the Orioles came up with much in the 2014 draft, and Dan Duquette knows a team must grow its own to be a perennial contender.

When the Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz, they didn’t have a draft pick until the third round when they selected high school pitcher Brian Gonzalez, who has struggled in the low minors. Fourth round pick Pat Connaughton is trying to prove that he can play in the NBA for the Portland Trail Blazers. While fifth rounder David Hess has impressed, the Orioles need more than that from their first four rounds.

This year was an opportunity to stockpile draft picks with six in the first 91 choices. Many in the organization thought that besides Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters would depart, giving the Orioles even more chances to draft young talent.

Instead, Davis and Wieters are back, and perhaps Gallardo and Fowler.

The Orioles have an opportunity to challenge in a questionable American League East in 2016 and 2017 since if they sign Gallardo and Fowler, only Wieters and Mark Trumbo from this year’s team isn’t under club control for next year.

Fowler’s plusses are many. He’s an ideal leadoff hitter for the Orioles who are currently without one. He has a lifetime .363 on-base percentage, far above their team average. Fowler stole 20 bases last year. In 2015, only Manny Machado stole as many.

Last year, he played 156 games, and even though he’s played only one inning in the majors in right field, Fowler should be able to slide over and complement Adam Jones.

He also serves as insurance in case Jones again misses time. There isn’t a legitimate backup center fielder on the team. 

With Hyun-soo Kim, who’s new to U.S. baseball assumed to be the left fielder, it would take a lot of pressure off Jones to have an accomplished fielder in right.

And, Fowler also strikes out a lot, 154 times in 2015, so he should feel comfortable with the aggressive Orioles.

Fowler, who played only one year in the American League, 2014 with Houston, has played six games in Baltimore, and has a .217 average (5-for-23).

As for the draft, I guess there’s always 2017.

MORE ORIOLES: Is this 2014 all over again for the Orioles?

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The most unbelievable catch of the Orioles' dismal season came in the team's final game

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The most unbelievable catch of the Orioles' dismal season came in the team's final game

It's not how you start, it's how you finish, and boy did Orioles right fielder Steve Wilkerson make sure the team went out with a bang against the Boston Red Sox.

Bottom of the eighth, game knotted at four, Jackie Bradley Jr. sent what seemed to be a moonshot to right field...

But what happens next is arguably the best catch of the entire MLB season. 

This catch by Wilkerson is nothing less than spectacular. Not only did he possess the focus to track the ball beyond the wall, but the athleticism to make the catch while almost tumbling over backwards into the crowd. 

This year may have been a huge let down for Baltimore, but here's to a bright spot heading into the offseason. 

MORE MLB COVERAGE:

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Orioles Roundup: Baltimore topples Blue Jays, 11-4

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Orioles Roundup: Baltimore topples Blue Jays, 11-4

The Orioles are now five games better than last season's woeful 47-115 record. While they continue to win meaningless games late in the season, their poor season won't go away. 

Player Notes:

Dylan Bundy gave up only two runs in seven innings pitched against the Blue Jays, bringing his season's ERA down to 4.79. 

Also, Trey Mancini went a perfect 5-5 in the Orioles win Tuesday night. He's now batting .373 against Toronto, hitting 25 of his 94 RBI this season against Toronto. Dwight Smith Jr. also impressed with a 3-4 showing, hitting a homer and three RBI of his own. 

Injuries: 

OF Mason Williams, knee, out indefinitely

RP Hunter Harvey, biceps, sidelined, day-to-day

RP Josh Rogers, elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

SP Alex Cobb, back, 60-Day IL, 2020

Coming Up: 

Wednesday, Sept. 25: Orioles at Toronto, 7:07 p.m. at Rogers Centre

Thursday, Sept. 26: Orioles at Boston, 7:10 p.m. at Fenway Park

Friday, Sept. 27: Orioles at Boston, 1:05 p.m. at Fenway Park