Dexter Fowler: “The whole qualifying offer thing, it’s flawed.”

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Dexter Fowler is the latest free agent to be hurt by the qualifying offer system. He rejected the Cubs’ $15.8 million qualifying offer — the value of which is derived by averaging the salaries of the top 125 players — in November and became a free agent with draft pick compensation attachment. That means that the team that eventually signs Fowler (not including the Cubs) would forfeit its unprotected first round pick or its next-highest pick if the first round pick is protected.

Fowler remained unsigned into February. Rumors linked him with the Orioles for weeks until the two sides reportedly reached an agreement. And then there wasn’t an agreement, and Fowler signed with the Cubs on a one-year, $13 million contract that includes a mutual option for 2017. All told, Fowler ended up losing $2.8 million by rejecting the Cubs’ qualifying offer over three months ago.

The qualifying offer system has received a growing amount of criticism. Defending National League MVP Award winner Bryce Harper said the QO system “needs to change” in reference to Ian Desmond still lurking in free agency. And MLBPA executive director Tony Clark would like the QO system to be a topic of discussion when the next Collective Bargaining Agreement is negotiated after the season.

Add Fowler to that list. Via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:

“The whole qualifying offer thing, it’s flawed,” said Fowler, the outfielder who on Thursday signed a one-year, $13 million deal to return to the Cubs. “It needs to change. It definitely needs to change.”

[…]

“We’re veterans,” Fowler said. “And then they’re talking about a draft pick, an [unproven] guy, that you don’t even know what’s going to happen to him. And you’re [suffering] the consequences.”

If this keeps up, it’s hard to imagine the QO system existing as presently instituted beyond this season.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).