According to a report from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler is expecting to get $18 million per year on a multi-year deal. Heyman adds that the Giants, Blue Jays and Cardinals are emerging as potential fits for the outfielder.
After an odd offseason, Fowler signed a 1-year, $13 million contract with the Chicago Cubs in February. He then preceded to have one of his best seasons as a pro, putting up career highs in OBP, .393, and OPS+, 126, which boosted his value and made him one of the best free agent outfielders in a lackluster free agent class.
St. Louis makes a lot of sense due to the loss of Matt Holliday, and the fact that they lack a true leadoff hitter. The addition of Fowler would allow the Cardinals to slide Randal Grichuck over to left field, as he is currently the first center fielder on their depth chart. With Fowler in the leadoff spot, it would give the Cardinals the opportunity to have Matt Carpenter hit second, setting the table for Grichuck and Stephen Piscotty, with two guys who get on base at a pretty high mark.
With Jose Bautista hitting free agency, Toronto also makes a lot of sense. Although they have a terrific center fielder in Kevin Pillar, Fowler could slide over to a corner and hit well in the top of that lineup. Although he lacks the power that the Blue Jays are losing, hitting only 13 in 551 plate appearances in 2016, he can still get on base so Josh Donaldson to drive him in.
San Francisco might not be the best fit for Fowler. They already have a leadoff hitter in Denard Span, and although they are losing Angel Pagan to free agency, they seem more than comfortable rolling with youngsters Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker.
With Yoenis Cespedes re-signing with the Mets, Fowler might be the best free agent outfielder available, aside from Bautista, so it won’t be surprising to see him get the $18 million per year he is asking for.