Dexter Fowler is in, you guessed it, the best shape of his life

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Calcaterra is on vacation, but before leaving he gave me permission to cover the “best shape of my life” beat should the need arise and … well, shockingly another player has been working out this offseason!

Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes that Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler has been working out with teammates Jason Giambi and Troy Tulowitzki, and is “noticeably stronger from a season ago.”

Here’s more:

The scene at Philippi Institute provides proof. Fowler, once a blade of grass, easily muscles his way through a day that includes sledgehammer smashes, heavy ropes and decline push-ups. His knees, which he admitted bothered him in September, are sturdy. He has added about 7 pounds and dropped 4 percent body fat thanks to a diet heavy on greens.

“I have put on weight before and felt heavy. This is the best I’ve ever felt,” said the 6-foot-4 Fowler, who said he would like to play at 195 pounds. “Working out with these guys has really pushed me.”

Despite a midseason demotion to the minors Fowler finished last season with slightly better overall numbers than his rookie and sophomore years, hitting .266 with a .796 OPS compared to .263 with a .764 OPS coming into 2011. And much of his game is based on speed and athleticism, both offensively and defensively, so it’s worth wondering if the 25-year-old adding weight and muscle is automatically a great thing.

Either way, we’re thrilled to add another name to the “BSOML” list.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.