When it was reported that Dexter Fowler and the Orioles had reached agreement on a three-year contract, outfielder Adam Jones was quick to offer his praise of Fowler and how much his addition meant to the team. Via Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun on Wednesday:
“[…] I don’t know about the uncertainty about [Yovani] Gallardo, but I know we’ve got [Dexter] Fowler, so I think we’re just constantly improving and not just improving on the field, but mentally. Fowler and Gallardo, if that locks up — Fowler has [six] years, Gallardo has eight years service time. That adds a lot of experience. Both of them have been in the postseason, been in big games, big moments. So we want to have them do it with us.”
“[…] now with Fowler, someone who has proved he can play 150-plus games in a season, it just gives us stability. And he can play center field also. It just gives us stability because he’s an everyday player.”
“[…] Fowler’s got some pop, especially in our ballpark. If it gets warm, he can hit some out there.”
As it turned out, Fowler ended up signing with the Cubs on a one-year deal with an option for a second year. The Orioles’ outfield corners will include some combination of Hyun Soo Kim, Dariel Alvarez, Nolan Reimold, and Henry Urrutia. Rule-5 pick Joey Rickard, Jimmy Paredes, and Mark Trumbo could also get some playing time in the outfield.
Fowler wasn’t exactly a favorite to win the 2016 American League MVP Award, but he has five consecutive seasons with an above-average (better than 100) adjusted OPS. He also slugged 17 home runs away from Coors Field last year, his first with the Cubs, and has reached double digits in stolen bases in each season since becoming a regular in 2009. He would’ve been a clear upgrade for the Orioles.
The Orioles, though, are acting like losing him isn’t that big of a deal. Here’s a complete 180 from Jones, via Encina:
“I love the guys that we have here in-house. I think we have a terrific team. So, cool. I think that by him not agreeing to it, it opened up money at the All-Star break or at the deadline. And it gives other guys in here a chance. So, it’s not that you’re outsourcing. It gives guys that are already in this clubhouse an opportunity.”
And here’s Chris Davis:
“[…] I think it was almost like ‘a cherry on top’ thing for us, because I think the biggest thing was — after signing Darren and Matt and myself and bringing Kim [to join] the guys we have in here — the name we were really looking at was Yovani.
Obviously, we would have loved to have Dex, but I think that would have been just kind of like an added bonus.”
Not that we expected them to openly pine for Fowler, but it is pretty humorous to read the before and after quotes side by side.