Update (6:52 PM EST): Orioles executive vice president of baseball Operations Dan Duquette responded. Per Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun:
Dexter Fowler became the big ticket item of the day when his reported three-year deal with the Orioles was never finalized and he ended up signing a one-year deal with the Cubs. The Baltimore and national media reports reported the deal in no uncertain terms. As Craig Calcaterra wrote earlier, he’s never seen anything like this happen in nine years of covering the sport. Nor have I, for what that’s worth.
Dexter Fowler’s agent, Casey Close of Excel Sports, is none too happy with the media nor with the Orioles organization. Close released a statement on Thursday evening that doesn’t hold back:
This isn’t the first time that Close has issued a critical statement. He did so regarding the Astros’ handling of the Brady Aiken negotiations in 2014.
Does Close have a case? If we apply Hanlon’s Razor, which essentially advises to assume ignorance over malice, then it’s reasonable to see a situation in which there was some degree of miscommunication between whichever source(s) within the Orioles organization communicated with members of the media. And the media, doing what they’ve done since social media became a thing, tweeted the information. 99 times out of 100, the information beat writers get is accurate, as we’ve seen countless times in recent years. Mistakes do happen.
If, as Vocativ’s Jack Moore notes on Twitter, an Orioles representative was leaking contract details to the media, he or she might be in violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. That would be a whole ‘nother can of worms.
The situation gets even muddier considering the Orioles’ reputation for backing out of deals themselves at the last minute. Their agreement with Yovani Gallardo was reworked after they became concerned with the results of his physical. They also backed out of a deal with reliever Grant Balfour in December 2013 for similar reasons.
We don’t know all the details yet, so it’s probably best to sit on the sidelines and wait. The Orioles will likely counter with a statement of their own, and any of the writers who reported on Fowler’s deal with Baltimore could as well.