Chicago Cubs: Looking at potential 2016 center field options

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Aug 31, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher

Jake Arrieta

(49) high-fives Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler (24) and teammates before the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field. Arrieta pitched a no-hitter the night before in Los Angeles. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Dexter Fowler

And here we are, ending up right where we began in Fowler.

Given the Cubs will no-doubt extend a qualifying offer to the center fielder at the end of the season, his quest for free agency becomes a bit murkier. Teams are often wary of losing that draft pick associated with signing someone with a Q.O. on the table, so it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.

This season has been a tale of two halves for Fowler, but we’re going to focus on his second-half exploits for the time being. Since the All-Star Break, the veteran has an OPS over .900, thanks to a .289/.407/.518 slash-line since mid-July.

Fowler is tied for 10th in terms of WAR in the season’s second-half, dead-even with future Hall of Famer David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox in the rankings. Not bad for a guy who was looking to re-establish value this year with Chicago and instead became a cog that set the table for a young, hungry lineup.

While the likes of the other names on this list have their lure, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Cubs go with what they know (and like) in Fowler this offseason. A veteran piece is always a good thing, especially on a team full of young talent.

Next: Taking a look at potential free agent targets