Everyone remembers what happened last season between the Baltimore Orioles and outfielder Dexter Fowler. The undestanding was that the two sides had an agreement, and Fowler allegedly even told various Oriole players that he was on the way to Sarasota for spring training. Yet at some point that changed, and before anyone knew it Fowler had signed a one-year deal to remain with the Chicago Cubs.
Somehow in all of that, the Orioles were painted as the bad guys in that they were presumptuous enough to believe that Fowler was theirs before he actually was. Nevertheless, history will probably say that Fowler did the right thing of course, given that CHicago won the World Series. Incidentally, the SNAFU was never explained on Fowler’s part – all anyone has ever known is that somehow the Orioles were actually the party that made a mistake.
Interestingly enough, Chicago signed free agent outfielder Jon Jay yesterday to a one-year deal. That effectively puts Fowle, who’s once again a free agent, on notice that his days in Chicago are over. Incidentally I do find it interesting that after winning the World Series for the first time since 1908, Chicago opted for a cheaper alternative than keeping what they already had.
Nevertheless, should the Birds renew their interest in Fowler? I say yes. Granted he made them look foolish last spring and somehow spun that as their fault, however if you want to take step from being a good team to a great one, sometimes you have to bite the bullet. The O’s also need a leadoff hitter, and Fowler is a bona fide leadoff man.
I suppose the one hangup might possibly be that the Orioles would slide Fowler into right field, which has basically been platooned since the departure of Nick Markakis. Fowler sees himself as a centerfielder – and he’s a good centerfielder at that. However he’s not going to unseat Adam Jones, who’s both a gold glove centerfielder and a fan favorite.
However is that partly why Fowler flew the coup before even getting here last season? There were a lot of rumors as to that, so it’s possible that the Orioles might have to fight harder to get him. However there’s another reason why they need t land Fowler this off season: Toronto wants him as well. If there’s one thing the Orioles can’t allow, it’s for a player of his caliber to land in the AL East.
Undoubtedly, there will be plenty of other teams who are interested in Fowler besides the Orioles and Toronto. Fowler would slide right into the top of the Orioles’ order very well, giving them a good punch from the beginning of the lineup. Whether they can come to an agreement is another story that remains to be seen.