No, it’s not like signing Mike Trout or Andrew McCutchen, but the shocking return of Dexter Fowler has given Cubs Nation a collective full-on Cubbie chubby.
I thought signing Fowler was an underrated move last year and absolutely love bringing him back this year. He solves several of the few remaining issues and fits in perfectly as the final piece of the puzzle on what most consider the best roster in baseball.
First, Fowler will return to center field, thus moving Jason Heyward back to right where he’s a complete game changer. That in turn moves Jorge Soler to left where he will form half of the most potent platoon in baseball with Kyle Schwarber. The Cubs outfield just went from question mark to an exclamation point both offensively and defensively.
Next, Fowler answers the leadoff hitter question emphatically, much like Kenny Lofton did for the 2003 Cubs. The switch hitter gets sparks the offense by getting on base 35% of the time, adding 102 runs with 17 homers, 149 hits and 84 walks in 2015. You can’t ask for much more out of the one hole and it frees up so many more options throughout the lineup for the mad scientist, Joe Maddon. It’s almost unfair to give a wizard like him that kind of roster flexibility.
Finally, I’m no mathematician, but the one-year, $13M deal appears to be LESS than the the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer the Cubs made at the end of the season. When you consider the old adage says there are no bad 1-year deals in baseball, this could easily be the best. You’ve really got to hand it to Theo Epstein & Co. — this one really checks all the boxes.
Only one question remains: How pissed are the Orioles right now?