Fowler rejects #Cubs qualifying offer

Dexter Fowler rejected the Cubs’ qualifying offer of one-year, $15.8 million on Friday, which leaves the team with a large gap to fill in center field, the lineup, and the clubhouse. By making the offer, the Cubs guaranteed themselves a compensation Draft pick should Fowler sign elsewhere this offseason. No player had accepted a qualifying offer until this year when the Astros’ Colby Rasmus became the first to do so. On Friday, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and the Dodgers’ Brett Anderson also did so. The $15.8 million figure was determined by averaging the top 125 player salaries from the previous season.

Cubs officials did talk to Fowler’s agent, Casey Close, during the GM meetings this week at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. Close also represents Rasmus, and free agents Jason Heyward and Alex Gordon, so he’s well aware of the market for outfielders.

Fowler, one of the key veterans on the team, will be hard to replace at the top of the lineup. If the Cubs don’t find a true lead off man, they could try an unconventional mix there. Hoyer pointed out that the Red Sox used Kevin Youkilis in that role.

Fowler made $9.5 million in his first season with the Cubs, when he set career highs in runs (102), hits (149), home runs (17), walks (84) and games played (156).

The in-house candidates may include Javier Baez, who will get some playing time in the outfield this spring. In explaining why he batted the pitcher eighth and not ninth, manager Joe Maddon called the No. 9 batter a “leadoff man in training.” Rookie Addison Russell filled that role this season with the Cubs but he may not be ready to move to the top spot of the lineup in his sophomore season.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said they have brainstormed about some trade options. There were reports Thursday that the Cubs were talking to the Red Sox about possibly dealing for Jackie Bradley Jr., a defensive whiz who batted .249 in 74 games. Epstein was the Red Sox’s general manager when the Boston drafted Bradley in the first round in 2011.

— Carrie Muskat

32 Comments

I guess Fowler doesn’t want to win a World Series ring. Maddon will certainly be able to hone his lineup. He knows what to do!

In the spirit of kindness. Is that the real reason he turned down the qualifying offer White? He don’t want a WS ring?

Look up the word “facetious”

ok, and?

Pretty sure it means she was joking. Obviously, every professional athlete WANTS to win a championship. A little surprised he left though. Don’t really think he’s worth more than 15 mil, and there are a lot of other options to fill out the outfield. Might not cost too much more to nab Heyward instead. Or why not save some money and go with a guy like Gerardo Parra, or Austin Jackson. There is a long free agent list of talented outfielders to chose from. Not sure Fowler is worth bringing back. Does he really think he’s going to continue to set career high numbers every season..?

Aloha Folks- we knew he would not accept the QO. Kimbrel of the Padres is now gone through a trade with the Redsox! Darn! Mahalo!

To KG; I only wish Billy Bean was that easy of a pushover. Castro/Hammel- he doesn’t even answer the phone. A true ace like Sonny Gray with 4 more years of team control at obscene low dollars= Either Schwarber or Baez, PLUS Glebber Torres and either Happ or McKinney. Plus might have to throw in another prospect or $. Sorry. But I for one would love sonny if Schwarber is not part of package

Aloha Stephen- Yes, I agree with you in that after the Cubs got the great end of the deal getting Russell & McKinney, we all know Beane would demand so much. Though he sure let a lot go at the end of last season. Now having said that: I could see a Castro-Hammel-Baez situation. I mean someone has to role the dice, there is risk. Shark could have been lights out for the A’s and Russell/McKinney nothing. So, with Castro Beane would have him under control for a few more years, Hammel for next year and Baez for many years. I was just going to do a follow up to jhosk’s post, so please reference it as it plays along some of these lines. Take care now! Mahalo!

Hello KG. Oakland is a small as small market as is in baseball. Castro & Hammel’s salary are to rich. And Hammel was terrible for them after our trade. Bean wants low cost, long term. He only bit the bullet and made that trade with us, and went all in. Gutsy, but didn’t work. Sonny Gray is wasted on this rebuild much as Sale is wasted on the South side of Chicago. Baez/Torres/McKinney might get it done. Although, in my opinion, Torres is going to be a force. Might end up being one of or the best on the major league roster when he makes it. He’s a freak

Aloha Stephen- yes I am with you. I am in the SF Bay Area and have an old baseball colleague from my college team who works with the A’s. You are correct it being a small market team (for now). I did not mention Torres for a reason, I agree with you there about his worth to the Cubs organization in the near future! Maybe Hammel-Baez-McKinney and the Cubs eat Hammel’s salary for the one year, the A’s get him for nothing. Still leaves options open if they try to do a trade with the Padres for Ross. By the way, many of my A’s buddies think the Shark trade was a good one. The one they did not like was Cespedes because it took a major threat out of their offense. If you remember last year, before Cespedes was traded the A’s had one heck of an offense and opposing pitchers had fits because if you did not pitch to one hitter, you had to deal with another. By trading away Cespedes at the time it took away a key element in their overall game. Again, that is how many here feel. Take care now. Mahalo!

Hello KG. Nice to have civil conversations about our beloved in blue. Total agreement with the A’s tanking after Ceispadis trade. But Hammel was aweful for them. Don’t think even for free that a deal gets done with him. Look what the Red Sox paid for Kimbril. 4- 30 top prospects, 2 in the top hundred of baseball. I’m not sure but I think he’s only under 2 more years of team control at some nice $. Sonny Grey has 4, and is a REAL ace. Still think it takes Soler or Baez plus 2 top 5 prospects in Cub system ( which is still loaded). I’m starting a Save Glebber Torres movement now. He’s going to be an A-rod w/o the baggage. Ciao

I do believe they could still sign Fowler to a multi year deal

I disagree that “it may not cost more to sign Heyward.” Heyward is the most `in demand` free agent outfielder on the planet. He could receive a contract in the $180 million neighborhood, if not more. After what Mr. Epstein said recently, we can forget about Heyward, Price, Greinke and any others who will command mega-contracts. Theo said he does not want to engage this off-season in signings similar to Lester`s $155 million `extravagance` (my word), and I can`t fault the President of Cubs` Baseball Operations for that stance. The numbers are `in the stratosphere.`

Aloha jhosk- salient points. I think like jasper said, the Cubs are in talks with all these FA’s if not to get one or more signed, then to drive up the price for other teams. I know there has been a lot of discussion to try and not give up a draft pick but because funding could be an issue I would rather the FO go after Zimmermann than the Shark. By going after Jordon they can probably save close to a $100mil plus he is about 1yr younger than Price. Yes they have to give up a draft-pick but with that savings, they could possibly pick up a Gordan and resign Austin Jackson for CF as a stop gap, until a Baez or Almora is ready. With Gordon in LF or sometimes in CF if he is willing, you have a plus defender. Next to make some more room money wise, can the FO make a deal with Castro/Hammel to the A’s for Sonny Gray? There are a lot of what-ifs but we have seen this FO be creative in the past and prudent. I think a starting rotation of Arrieta-Gray-Hendricks-Lester-Zimmerman would be awesome. The veterans not only give innings, which help out the bullpen but can mentor the young Hendricks. Anyhow, just some thoughts jhosk as you brought up the financial side of things, I would not be at all surprised to see Price on another team. Mahalo!

Aloha jhosk- just read some interesting articles in regard to different scenarios for the Cubs. One that caught my eye but would require the FO to be on it right now so that it works out in there favor is the following: Heyward to a 5-7yr deal and he plays CF. He immediately strengthens the outfield and helps out both LF/RF. When Schwarber is not behind the plate, maybe Coghlan/Denorfia (if they bring him back I know his age is up there) in LF. We know Soler is in Right most of the time. By doing this, CF is secured for many years and gives the team options. So instead of going into the FA for pitching with the amount of players (Castro/Hammel/Wood/Baez/Almora/McKinney) the team has in the system, could they trade for possibly a Sonny Gray and/or a Tyson Ross? Gray (26yrs) comes up for FA in 2020, Ross (28yrs) in 2018? Saves a lot of money instead of paying out for Price (30yrs) and Shark (30yrs) as well as Zimmermann (29yrs). So by getting a Heyward it is like the Cardinals with Curt Flood and Lou Brock. Brock was not a good fielder but with Flood they could compensate for this. My hope with a situation like Heyward in CF is that he would help out Schwarber when in LF and that Soler could learn from him and grow as a defender. Soler is only 23yrs old and I believe hungry to stay healthy and grow as a player. So, the money would go to Heyward in the FA market but good and creative bargaining could lead to some great trades for SP’s and not deplete the farm system. Anyhow, I was having a moment of “thinking out of the box” and looking at the Cubs situation differently, meaning putting together a team for not only 2016 but to have key pieces in place for many years to come. Meaning a competitive franchise year in and year out. Take care now. Mahalo!

Yes, k.g. I see your argument regarding Heyward and how he could stabilize the Cubs` outfield for 5-7 years, but I also do not see the FO willing to commit to a contract for something approaching $200 million to him or anyone else. It ain`t going to happen. I`m disappointed Kimbrel went to the Bosox, as I know you and I and others coveted him for the Cubs. Boston surrendered four well regarded prospects for him, and many intelligent observers feel Boston overpaid, and we would have been foolish to try to compete. It was easier for the Boston GM, Dombrosky, to give up those prospects, given that he is new to the organization, and those four are not athletes he was involved in signing. (Don`t think that is not a major factor.) Kimbrel is one of the best closers in the game, and we envisioned him finishing games for us, but that expectation is now `by the boards.` Boston may well be active in the David Price `sweepstakes.` I don`t want to see the Cubs paying huge contracts to Heyward or Price or Greinke or anyone else one cares to name. If one looks at recent history, the organization which `wins the winter,` goes on to put up very disappointing win/loss numbers, and regrets those expensive transactions.

To be accurate, Dave Dombrowski is `President of Baseball Operations` with the Red Sox, not GM. But he is the `prime mover` with the organization, just as Theo Epstein is with the Cubs.

Also k.g., you recently invoked Lou Brock. I know you admired him, and I did as well. It was sad to read last week that sound medical advice recommended the man`s leg be amputated below the knee. I reckon it was due to diabetes, but please do not quote me. I know the man`s best years were with the Redbirds, but when I think of Lou Brock, I always identify him as a Chicago Cub, not a Cardinal. The man is `an original,` and he is an original Cubs` baseball player.

Aloha jhosk- thank you for your replies. As you may have read down below with an exchange and comments from Stephen, he brought up an interesting option for CF: Gerardo Parra. I think that is a very good option. He is a very good defender, has played all 3 positions in the outfield has a decent enough bat and is only 28 will be 29yrs in May. Maybe the FO could pick him up for 2-3yrs at $7-9mil/yr. He is a good stop-gap for the moment and a good utility player for the outfield. Then the organization does not have to feel rushed in regard to Almora. This also opens the options for seeing if there is interest in Castro or Baez + Hammel/Wood for a starting pitcher like Gray of the A’s. I do not think the FO has to give up both Castro & Baez. Maybe one of them and a prospect/Hammel. As I mentioned to Stephen some chatter out my way is that the A’s may go the 3yr route (not winning seasons) to get high draft picks. If the A’s were interested in a Castro, the Cubs would probably have to pick up a large portion of his contract but the A’s would have him for so many years and at the cost of what some infielders are getting, Castro is not a bad bargain. I am not worried with this FO that they will do what Boston just did to get Kimbrel, that was crazy even if they have a good farm system! But if this FO could pull off a good trade with the A’s for a Gray and pick up someone like Parra then they have some extra funds to play with in the FA for another SP or BP help. Just a thought. Take care now! Mahalo!

Thank you a.j. 😄 You got my joke. 😄

Get Geraldo Parra for center. More than decent, left-handed bat, gold glove. He can be a placeholder until Amora ready (late 2016-2017) and/or Baez looks like he can stick there,( they are going to try him there in spring training). This solves some issues; 1. Saves some $ after getting an ace to go get Zorbist or 2nd tier pitcher, 2. Alleviates the log jam in infield if Baez can stick there for about 100 games, allows Parra or Russell to move to lead off ( is Russell ready?). I’m not comfortable giving Heyward $170-200 mil, or Fowler 4 years- 60 mil. Need a glove out there to pick up Soler/Shwarber limitations. Darren Span doesn’t really do it out there for me. Parra’s actually a pretty good little ballplayer

I like Parra also. He can play CF and leadoff. He can be had at a more reasonable cost at 1 or 2 years. He is very affective against RH Pitchers and is a total PIA against them.
Here is a question: What is the average games played against RH Starters during a season compared to LH starters?

Thinking back on a wonderful season, I’ve had time to have a few thoughts. I think trading Soler now is a must. Love the Vlad Guerroro swing and great arm. But so so defense AND the Nanok of the north answer to a chilly spring/fall in CHICAGOOO! Really. As a gualifier he had a Pretty good playoff. But in NY he looked like frosty the snowman. Sorry, deal with it. Trade him now (Miami, Atlanta -hello Tarahan). I’m trying to not judge, but he, and Baez made me shiver in my warm toasty house. Better for them/us with a trade Prid pro quo

trading soler is not a must…. that is a comment that gets you beat in a trade. You shop him and if you can’t get a good deal on a young controlled pitcher then you keep Soler. Lets also note that Soler was pretty good in the postseason so why would you even complain? Im more disappointed in KB and Rizzo because they crap the bed in the Mets series. That is unacceptable.

Ripping on two guys that pretty much got you to the Playoffs is pretty unacceptable in my opinion.
That series was all about some very good Pitching for the Mets. Pretty poor defense for the Cubs, along with poor starting pitching.
Even from petrey10, good Pitching beats good hitting, unless its against his team, then its unacceptable.
Another great post.

Aloha Stephen, Parra is s good suggestion, I do not think he received a qualified offer, so no lost of draft pick. He may want a 3yr deal but that is not bad for a 28yr old, maybe they get him 7-9mil a year. Plus, he has played all 3 outfield positions well. I was also thinking about our discussion on pitching and trades. The A’s are in rebuild mold and the chatter here is that they may go the 3-yr route, 3 losing seasons to get high draft picks. This is a contrarian theory but we know pitching wins games, just look at what the Mets did to the Cubs young hitting. So, I do not think it would be out of this world if the A’s moved Gray for a Baez or Castro along with one prospect or a couple of pitchers like a Hammel and/ or Wood. The kicker would be that the Cubs may have to cover a big portion of Castro’s contract but overall the deal is still less financially then going after an elite FA SP, plus no loss of a draft pick. I agree with you about the RedSox and Kimbrel, and Dombrowski
(sp?) over “paying.” I am confident that Jed/Theo would not allow that to happen. If true about the A’s, then now might be a great time to have a chat with them. The FO does not need to give up two prospects or both Castro&Baez. Sure in this deal they might receive so-so pitchers but again the end game for them could be “high-draft-picks.” And with your suggestion of Parra would would be much more affordable, then you have options to get another SP through FA or beef up the bullpen. Will be very interesting to see what happens these next few weeks. Take care. Mahalo!

The Mets cultivated outstanding pitchers like `The Dark Knight,Thor, deGrom, Wheeler, and Matz in their very own system. Why can`t our organization do something approaching that? The quality does not need to be at that high level, given our offense is light years ahead of that of the Mets. But to buy pitching will not cut it, if the example y`all can point to is the Lester deal. If you are objective, you have to admit the results were mixed .Lester`s best years may very well have been behind him when he came aboard. To engage in future free agent transactions with the likes of Price and Greinke, who both, by the way, will cost far more than Jon Lester, is a fool`s errand. If you disagree with my assessment, bring your arguments strong.

Aloha jhosk- as much as it is not easy to talk about, the Cubs have some great folks in the minors that I am sure will get a lot of attention in this off-season. Along with some folks on the current 40-man roster. That being said, I would love it if the FO could pull off some trades for a Sonny Gray or even a Tyson Ross. That way they have control over them for so many years and are not dishing out the Lester type of contract as you allude to. The other thing that I hope and they may need to trade for are pitching prospects to be brought in the farm system, maybe that is something they pull-off during the middle of the season before the July deadline. The more and more I think about the cost of Price, Greinke, the less I think it prudent. The one person I am 50/50 on would be Zimmermann if at the right “price,” but again I think there are bargaining chips in this organization to be able to fetch a Gray/Ross. Take care now. Mahalo!

The Cubs went all in on drafting and developing top hitting talent because a) they felt it’s easier to develop hitting talent than it is to develop pitching talent, b) there’s a much higher injury risk to pitchers than there is to hitters and c) with pitching dominating the game today, a good hitter is a much more valuable piece for a team to control than a good pitcher. I mean, 3 of the 5 Mets pitchers you mentioned have already missed time due to injury in their young careers. Matt Harvey not only missed an entire season due to injury already, but he was supposed to be on an innings limit this year, which was ignored and now it’s only a matter of time before he has to return to the DL for some reason.
———
And it’s funny how you use the Mets as an example when the team that completely dominated them in the World Series is full of hitters that they developed on their own and really only one starting pitcher who they developed on their own (Yordano Ventura).
———
As for the Cubs developing pitching, they do have some prospects in the minors who are worth keeping an eye on. Carl Edwards, Jr. is their top pitching prospect and he got his first exposure to the Majors in September. It’s possible he competes with Hendricks for a rotation spot next season and at the very least should be a candidate for a spot in the bullpen. Duane Underwood was a 2nd round pick in 2012 and has been putting up good numbers in the low minors. If he can stay healthy and make the transition to AA in 2016, he could be looking at a rotation spot in 2017 or 2018. Then there’s Pierce Johnson, a 2012 Supplemental Round draft pick. He looked good in limited time at AA last season and is currently in the Arizona Fall League. Injury concerns are probably the only thing keeping him from being in the mix in 2016, but if he can stay healthy then you might hear his name pop up towards the end of the season or for 2017. Other guys like Dylan Cease (2014 6th round pick), Bryan Hudson (2015 3rd round), Justin Steele (2014 5th round), Jen-Ho Tseng (2014 Cubs minor league pitcher of the year) and Carson Sands (2014 4th round) haven’t pitched above A-ball yet, but are worth keeping an eye on as they move through the system.

(1) Jed Hoyer spoke on a Radio show recently, stating that, it takes Pitchers much longer to develop than position players.
(2) Before the 2013 Draft Epstein/Hoyer stated they are going to Draft the best position player available, then load up on Pitching. They have done that three years running.
(3) The last three years they have Drafted and signed over 35 Pitchers.
(4) The Cubs have signed International FA Pitchers. Traded for Minor League Pitchers
(5) Out of the Cubs top 30 prospects, 15 are Pitchers.
What is so hard to understand about that?
Sign 1 or 2 FA starters, trade for one, the Cubs are in business. Use them for a couple to three years until the prospects start making a difference, then trade them for what you can get.
In fact the Cubs still have Arietta for two more years. Is there a need to extend him? I don’t think so, why deal with Boras until you have too? Plus, Arietta may blow out the arm the next two years.

Aloha Doug & jasper- gosh when I got back from work and saw my reply to Doug’s post, I apologize for the spelling! I try to write on those small devices and it comes out something else. I was trying to say that I can understand the thinking of “higher-risk” when developing pitchers in the minors. Having said that the A’s have done a great job with both position players and pitchers. I think it was smart for this FO to load up in their first so many years so that they not only have “control” for sometime but also bargaining chips, which we now see because there is a “log-jam,” at some positions and nowhere for these up-and-coming folks to go. That means prudent trades, including some for more prospects. Jasper good for you to bring up the amount of pitchers that have been brought into the system over the past 3yrs, sometimes we do not discuss them like we should. I think if we did talk more about them, then just CJ Edwards (for example), jhosk probably would feel better about the situation. I have to remind myself that the Cubs swept the Mets. But just like we see year in and year out, teams rise to certain occasions. I felt Russell going down in the series against St. Louis hurt because of his defense but he was also doing his part at the plate. The Mets surged at the right time, I mean Murphy?! Also Bryant and Rizzo had a hard post-season. But the good thing is now they have experience being there. That was one thing that the Mets had more of, folks with post-season experience. I also want to give you kudo’s because I know you do not like going into the FA market if you do not need to. I am hoping-fingers-crossed that this FO can pull off a trade for Gray, possibly Ross. If they get one or both, they do not need to get a FA SP; that would be amazing! But I think more realistically if they can get one SP through a trade and go into the market for another, the organization is still in a very strong position. I too wish Arrieta were not with Boras. Will see what happens this coming year, maybe they offer him a 2yr extension with a third option but I can see your point there. They already have Lester for 5 more years. Another reason it would be nice to have Gray because he is only 26, Ross is 28. Take care now. Mahalo!

Aloha Doug, good point about the FO’s strategy in regard to going after hitters. I feel that they built up a tremendous base with which they can now come to the bargaining table with other organizations for some SP. Just who would end up being traded is up to the FO. I agree that trying to develop pitchers can havher ris
of injury or just not performing. This is where I give the A’s credit as they have
been able to pick up and grow both position and pitching folks. Well we will know soon as to the Spring 2016 Lineup, Mahalo!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: