In a shocking turn of events, the Cubs have announced that they have re-signed Dexter Fowler to a 1-year deal that includes a mutual option for 2017. According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, Fowler will receive $13 million in guaranteed money, with the mutual option being valued at $9 million.
Today's announcement comes two days after multiple outlets reported a 3-year, $35 million agreement between Fowler and the Orioles, who had been the favorite to sign him for weeks. Baltimore was thought to have landed the outfielder, but it appears as though he changed course at a late stage in negotiations and is heading back to the Cubs.
Fowler joins Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler, Ben Zobrist and Javier Baez in a stacked Cubs' outfield mix that lost Chris Coghlan (who was traded to Oakland) earlier today. Chicago may decide to make some more trades, with Soler and Baez having been rumored to be available at different points this winter.
Fowler, 29, was disadvantaged by the number of strong outfield options available on this year's free-agent market, with Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton and Alex Gordon all signing with clubs looking for outfield help. Fowler was linked to the Giants, White Sox and Rangers throughout the offseason, though the Orioles had emerged as a strong favorite to sign him in the last couple of weeks. His decision to change course so quickly after reports of an agreement with Baltimore will be a major story in the next few days, as the exact reasons are still unknown.
Fowler spent last season with the Cubs, hitting .250/.346/.411 with 17 home runs in 156 games. The former 14th-round pick has posted a lifetime .267/.363/.418 line with 65 homers and 114 stolen bases in 8 major-league seasons with the Rockies (2008-13), Astros (2014) and Cubs (2015).