- The White Sox offered Fowler a two-year contract worth more than $17MM, CBS Chicago’s Bruce Levine reports. The offer was for a set two years and didn’t include an opt-out clause or a mutual option after the first season. Fowler’s deal with the Cubs guarantees him $8MM in 2016, and then he and the team can either both enact a $9MM mutual option for 2017 or the Cubs can buy Fowler out for $5MM. It’s clear that Fowler and agent Casey Close were focused on flexibility after the 2016 season, as the Orioles’ refusal to include an opt-out clause is what caused the breakdown in talks between the two sides. The Sox have been known to be interested in Fowler and others this winter as they continue to look for corner outfield help, though the club hasn’t yet done much in the way of major moves to address left or right field. Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia are still on hand as the incumbent starters, though both had sub-replacement level seasons in 2015. Signing Fowler would’ve represented a major upgrade for the Pale Hose yet also cost the team the 27th overall pick in the draft since Fowler was a qualifying offer free agent. The top White Sox pick (the 10th overall selection) was protected, with the later first-round selection given to the team as compensation for Jeff Samardzija signing with the Giants.
- With Fowler no longer an option, the Orioles are likely to pursue another corner outfielder, MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli writes. Manager Buck Showalter is satisfied with his internal options, which include the likes of Mark Trumbo (who will probably see lot of DH time), Nolan Reimold, Henry Urrutia, Dariel Alvarez and Rule 5 draft pick Joey Rickard on the 40-man roster. Urrutia is the only left-handed hitter of the bunch, so one of the righty-swingers will be used to complement new addition Hyun-soo Kim in left field. Ghiroli cites Jay Bruce, Austin Jackson or Pedro Alvarez as possible targets for the Orioles, with Alvarez joining the club as a DH and Trumbo then getting most of his playing time in right. With so many right-handed hitting outfielders already in the mix, left-handed hitting free agents like David Murphy, Grady Sizemore or David DeJesus also make sense as speculative fits.
- One of the many unusual aspects of the Fowler/Orioles drama was that Adam Jones seemingly had verbal confirmation from Fowler that the outfielder was indeed joining the team. Jones addressed that situation with reporters (including Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun), saying he was surprised to learn Fowler wasn’t signing with the O’s but there was no issue between he and Fowler. “At the end of the day, he’s happy where he’s at. His family is happy in Chicago, so good for him,” Jones said. He also expressed that this gives an opportunity to the Orioles’ other outfielders, and noted that the O’s could pursue midseason upgrades with the money they saved on Fowler’s contract.