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Dexter Fowler throws curveball, set to return to Cubs

It’s been an interesting offseason and an even a more interesting 48 hours for free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler, who looked primed to roam the right field grass of Camden Yards, but will now return to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Fowler, one of the most interesting cases on this year’s free agent market, seemed to be inching close to a multi-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles just a couple of days ago. However, multiple MLB insiders, including Ken Rosenthal and Mark Gonzales, are indicating today that Fowler will return to the Cubs on a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2017.

Recent reports had Fowler linked to Baltimore on deal in the three-year $33M range. Now, it appears Fowler will make approximately $8M in 2016, with a $9M mutual option for 2017, which includes a $5M buyout.

The signing is a sure disappointment money wise for Fowler, who turned down the team’s $15M-plus qualifying offer earlier this winter in the hopes of landing a multi-year deal. Now Fowler will settle for nearly half of that, as the attached draft pick compensation was more than likely the biggest obstacle in finding a long-term home. With the value on prospects and younger, controllable players at seemingly an all-time high, teams were reluctant to surrender their unprotected first round draft pick for the chance to sign Fowler.

With an abundance of outfielders in play for the Cubbies, the team made a corresponding roster move by dealing Chris Coghlan to the Athletics in exchange for pitcher Aaron Brooks. This move remedies the logjam that already exists with Jason Heyward, Jorge Soler, Kyle Schwarber, and now Fowler.

One major upside to the re-signing of Fowler is that the Cubs can now better utilize Heyward in RF, rather than moving him to center.

In 2015, Fowler hit 17 HRs, with 46 RBIs and 20 SBs, while hitting to a .250/.346/.411 slashline in 156 games.