Chicago Cubs: Takeaways from Theo Epstein’s press conference

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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

What will it take to bring back Dexter Fowler?

The trade that sent former infielder Luis Valbuena to the Houston Astros last season netted the Cubs something they had lacked for some time: a quality lead-off man with speed.

Dexter Fowler brought that – and more – to the Chicago Cubs this season, swiping 20 bags and cracking a career-high 17 home runs while mentoring young players including Jorge Soler. In the second-half, he batted .272/.389/.463 – good enough for an .852 OPS, helping lead the club to 97 wins.

So after clearly re-establishing his value on a one-year, $9.5 million campaign with Chicago, Fowler is sure to have plenty of suitors this winter. With that in-mind, do the Cubs have a legitimate shot at re-signing him?

Here’s what Theo had to say about Fowler and bringing back the veteran for 2016.

"Dexter Fowler had an unbelievable year. He fit in tremendously well in this organization, and I think really highly of him as a player and a person, as do we all, frankly. He made a wonderful impression. He’s a free agent. He’s earned that status. It’s not something I take lightly."

Clearly, Epstein understands what Fowler brings to the table for a club ripe with young talent. The only question will be what he’s hoping to get out of free agency: does the clubhouse chemistry and team outlook outweigh money?

Time to wait and see.

Next: Other notes from the press conference