#Cubs bring Fowler back

Dexter Fowler returned to the Cubs in style Thursday, surprising his teammates on the field during practice with the news that he had signed a one-year contract to return.

“My heart’s here,” said Fowler, who rejected longer term deals elsewhere, including a three-year offer from the Orioles and signed a one-year, $8 million contract that includes a $5 million buyout and a $9 million option for 2017.

“I feel like the Cubs, they treated me with the utmost respect. With the offseason moves they made, you’ve got to go with what’s comfortable.”

One of the moves the Cubs made was to acquire Jason Heyward, who was projected to play center and possibly lead off. But now Fowler returns to that role with Heyward sliding to right. Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber will likely share left field.

Manager Joe Maddon called all of the players together on Field 6 Thursday, saying there was a special announcement. Once everyone was gathered, Fowler appeared, wearing a white t-shirt and black jeans, and was greeted by hugs and cheers.

“I think I owed it to the boys to tell them first,” Fowler said.

The Cubs dealt Chris Coghlan to the A’s for right-hander Aaron Brooks earlier Thursday to make room both in the outfield and on the roster for Fowler.

— Carrie Muskat

12 Comments

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Signing Fowler for one year was a great move. I just mentioned to K.g. the other day this could happen with a Soler/Schwarber platoon in LF.
Also wonder if at any time in Cubs History, they had switch hitters batting leadoff and second in the order?
The Cubs will lose there first and second round Draft Picks with the signing of Fowler, but should be well worth it.
Probably be another minor move or two, unless Villanueva can make the 25 man Roster out of ST, as he is out of options.

That`s a great question you raised, jasper, and I`m referencing if it`s ever been true that the first two batters at the top of the Cubs` order have been switch hitters. I`m guessing this season will set a precedent in that category, but I could be mistaken. I also agree with you that this season portends to be one pregnant with fun.

One more thing about that expected approaching `fun` season. You, jasper, along with several others whose names we can easily identify, are more than deserving of that, as you were on this blog during all those lean years when it was a challenge to see when exactly we were going to emerge from that dark `losing` tunnel. Y`all persevered, and are deserving of much praise.

Not only the switch Hitters jhosk, the OBP is crazy. Add the power and possible stolen bases in this lineup, the opposing team can not lose concentration for any amount of time.

Aloha jasper-jhosk-doug, I just got home and saw this. I had a feeling that until it was made official that I would not believe Fowler moving on with the Orioles. I also heard locally that Coghlan who I like is coming our way to the A’s. I said jasper that the only way I would even consider this is if he came at a big discount and only for one year. Because for the growth and longevity of the team, I think it is still important for Heyward to work/learn CF and Soler be given a chance. As you know, Fowler’s metrics are not the best, defensively speaking. I felt, Heyward would have been a lot stronger glove-wise, even though having to learn a new position in CF. So, this will be interesting. Does Fowler move to RF or play some there as well as CF/LF? I do not think it is a bad thing for Soler to learn LF, as adds to his arsenal. I also wonder if in Fowler’s contract it is stated that he is a “starter” or not. Fowler still does not come cheap though, because even if he only plays one year for this current team, it will cost the organization $13mil. Jasper, I like the idea of giving Almora and others more time in AA/AAA. So, I just hope that Fowler produces both in the outfield as well as at the plate and if he has a bad spell like last year, that management will not be beholden to him but yank him for the good of the team as I would expect for anyone going through a difficult period. Anyhow jasper, good call I hope the best for the entire team! Take care and Mahalo!

K.g., at first I was thinking Fowler made a big mistake not accepting the QO. Then all of the talk, waiting for him to sign, wanting that 2nd round Draft Pick back, then rumors galore, I was irritated and sick of Fowler Rumors. I didn’t care where he signed.
But this makes sense, SH leadoff hitter back in CF, his defense was fine. his OBP, power and SB’s were fine. As discussed it gives Almora more time. Heyward can play CF giving Fowler a break and At Bats for Soler. We all know Maddon uses everyone, they will all get playing time.
The team morale just went to another level, that video of Fowlers return was awesome.

Aloha jasper- I understand too. I just felt like Fowler had moved on and had committed elsewhere. His agent is saying otherwise. I know he is a good clubhouse person. I guess if this is how it was going to play out, why did it not happen sooner? I feel for the Oriole fans and other teams that thought they had a real shot at him. I am also getting a little concerned with all these folks wanting an opt-out. I think it was fine with Heyward because he took, in regard to what the market was offering, quite a cut to come over and play for the Cubs, with the caveat that he would be changing positions. So, I understand the opt-outs for him. I know the game is changing in that regard, it is not just with Fowler but it seems like loyalty is out the door. Again, this is not limited to one player. Sometimes as tough as it is to say goodbye to a loved-one or dear colleague, in order for the others to grow and mature it is necessary. I potentially saw with Fowler gone (not accepting the QO) and the trade of Castro to the NYY, an amazing opportunity for Rizzo to really become a leader with the help of folks like Montero/Ross. The young guys: Bryant/Russell/Soler/Schwarber settling in and helping a Baez. Of course it helps to have vets like Zobrist and Lackey but I name folks about that were part of last year’s team. I hope Soler hangs in there and fights hard and improves to the point where the FO will have to buyout Fowler’s 2017 year. Again, I am thinking for the future but do understand that this is a good move too. Take care now, this is going to be a fun season no matter what happens. Mahalo!

Did not see this coming. Shortly after Heyward came aboard, you`ll recall I predicted Cubs` fans would see Heyward in right field where he`s regarded as the game`s very best defensively, and not in center where it was assumed he would need to move. I predicted the Cubs would sign a legit centerfielder, thus enabling Jason to remain at his natural position. But I surely did not anticipate that player being Fowler. This is indeed a pleasant surprise. I see a fly in the ointment, however, as Soler is not likely to be content with his new projected diminished role.

Soler will get many more At Bats. Of the Bench when platooned, DH in interleague games, LF when Schwarber is Catching. Its going to be a very fun year jhosk.

I can see Soler getting the start in LF against lefties, as Schwarber struggled against lefties last season. I can also see Soler coming in the late innings for Schwarber. While Soler isn’t a plus defender, he’s a better defender than Schwarber and the Cubs won’t lose much in offense as they would if they subbed in, say, Matt Szczur instead. Of course, another trade is also a possibility, either now or at the deadline, but for the moment they’ll have to figure out some sort of LF rotation involving Schwarber, Soler, Zobrist, and maybe players like Baez, Szczur, Murton or another backup they pick up between now and Opening Day. Obviously, depth and flexibility is not something the Cubs lack!

What I am reading elsewhere Doug is: 4 man OF, Baez and LaStella is 6 INF, 2 Catchers + Schwarbster, is 12 position players. Baez and Soler backup the OF, Baez and LaStella the INF.
Carry 13 Pitchers.
So there needs to be some minor trades made for Villanueva, Szczur and?

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