Following up on last night’s report of a four-year, $60MM offer from the Blue Jays to Dexter Fowler (via FanRag’s Jon Heyman), Mark Saxon of ESPN.com reports that a rival exec tells him the Cardinals’ initial offer is believed to be in the same range.
Heyman previously reported that Fowler’s camp was of the belief that he could land an $18MM annual value, so there’s no indication that either offer is close to getting a deal done at this point. But, the pair of hefty offers to Fowler serve as a strong indicator that the switch-hitting center fielder is enjoying a much more robust market than he did last winter when his stagnant market ultimately culminated in a one-year deal to return to the Cubs.
Fowler once again rejected a qualifying offer this winter, but he’s coming off a brilliant offensive season that also saw him play markedly better defense in center field after he altered his positioning. The former Rockies/Astros/Cubs center fielder is capable enough in the outfield that he should be able to help any club with a vacancy at any outfield slot, and his strong .266/.369/.419 batting line and 38 homers (in addition to 44 stolen bases) across the 397 games he spent with the Astros and Cubs in 2014-16 should sufficiently dispel concerns that his above-average offensive performance was a product of the time spent at Coors Field earlier in his career.