Cubs, Fowler avoid arbitration with one-year, $9.5 million deal


The Chicago Cubs acquired Dexter Fowler knowing that would inherent his arbitration case, and likely a fairly hefty salary. On Friday afternoon they agreed on a one-year deal worth $9.5 million. Fowler was in search of $10.8, the Cubs countered with $8.5. So the figure is near the midpoint between the two.

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The Cubs anticipate Fowler sliding into the everyday center field job, as last year’s starter Arismendy Alcantara will in all likelihood fill a super-sub role with his versatility. Alcantara struggled towards the end of his rookie campaign, and the move may only signify the desire to take some pressure off of him to become more comfortable and become more patient at the plate.

Fowler brings in experience and a solid ability to get on base. Earlier in his career he used his speed, swiping 27 bases in 2009. Since then his highest total was 19 in 2013, and only 11 last year. But that would have put him in second on the team, only behind Emilio Bonifacio who was traded to the Atlanta Braves in July. So you have to keep the numbers in perspective.

The Cubs haven’t historically been a base-stealing team, but manager Joe Maddon has used it in the past. If and how he changes his methods coming from the American League will just have to wait to be seen.

The signing of Fowler leaves only Pedro Strop unsigned. With all the signings complete aside from him, it has to leave a bit of wonder to what the hold up is. Theo Epstein doesn’t like to allow cases to go to hearing because the process isn’t pleasant. You have to sell the arbitrator on the “negatives” of the player, and why your figure is the right one. It may be business, but it can leave some resentment between player and team.

The Cubs could always look to trade Strop, possibly along with Castillo and allow his new team to settle the case, similar to the Fowler deal. It’s all speculation at this point as we wait to see how this all plays out.

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