Dexter Fowler open to an extension with the Chicago Cubs


For much of this week, the Chicago Cubs’ acquisition of Houston Astros outfielder Dexter Fowler has dominated baseball media in the Windy City – and with good reason. Fowler spoke with MLB Network Radio about joining the much-improved Cubs and his thoughts on a potential contract extension that would keep him with the team long-term.

"I’m always open. I always keep an open mind and if it’s something work for both us, then, you know, that could happen. But I’ve got to keep things in perspective and play each and every day and let that stuff take care of itself."

The Cubs extending Fowler (at this point) is a completely hypothetical situation, and one that, to me, seems somewhat unlikely moving forward. The not-yet-30 outfielder is signed just through 2015 – and several facets could play into whether or not he stays in Chicago after this season.

First, and foremost, the Cubs being a legitimate contender – or at the very least showing signs of major progress – wouldn’t hurt matters for Fowler’s interest. If the team falls flat, he may be less likely to ink a deal that would keep him with the club.

That being said, that’s only on his end of things. Depending on what type of role he envisions for himself moving forward will also be key – the Cubs have several notable outfield prospects (Albert Almora, Billy McKinney, etc.) who are going to be big league-ready in the coming years, which could limit Fowler’s playing time. That’s not to mention the potential position change for Kris Bryant once Addison Russell is ready for the big leagues (given he nor Starlin Castro have been traded at that point).

Fowler, who was acquired for right-hander Dan Straily and infielder Luis Valbuena, brings a mixed bag to Chicago. Defensively, he ranked as the worst center fielder in all of Major League Baseball in terms of Defensive Runs Saved (-20), but he brings a career .366 on-base percentage to the lineup, as well – something the Cubs badly need to be competitive.

Last season, which was his first – and only – in Houston, the 28-year-old outfielder batted .276/.375/.399 across 505 plate appearances, also stealing 11 bases while being caught just four times. Prior to 2014, he spent six seasons as a member of the Colorado Rockies, with whom he finished eighth in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting back in 2009.

After spending his career largely on uncompetitive teams, Fowler also touched on how good this Cubs team could be in 2015 during the interview.

"I know how good we’re going to be. There’s a lot of young talent there that’s opened a lot of eyes. And you’ve got the veterans … they signed the big dog Lester, so, you know, we’ve got guys coming in who are going to do work. With the young and the old, I think we’ll mesh well."

The thought of extending Fowler is exactly that – a thought. To anyone’s knowledge, the two sides haven’t even discussed the possibility. However, it’s at least something to keep in mind moving forward as we head into Spring Training next month in Arizona.

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