This afternoon Dexter Fowler made his first visit back to Wrigley Field since he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals this past offseason. He was given a warm welcome. He was also given his World Series ring.
Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward presented the ring to Fowler during a pregame ceremony with Joe Maddon, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer looking on. Then, a few minutes later, Fowler smacked a home run on the game’s sixth pitch. That was given a warmer response from the Wrigley Field crowd than most opposing player homers, but a fan threw the ball back on the field all the same.
Fandom is fandom.
Fowler hit .276 with 13 homers and a .393 on-base percentage in 125 games last season, making the All-Star team for the first time and, of course, helping the Cubs win the World Series. Then he went to their arch rivals on a five-year, $82.5 million contract.
Business is business.
Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.
It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.
Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.
Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.