Chicago Cubs: Who will replace Dexter Fowler in center?

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After one successful season in Chicago, Dexter Fowler’s future with the team is now unclear.

This year marked one of the best seasons of Fowler’s career thus far. Playing under a $9.5 million salary, he had career-highs in many areas, including runs, hits, walks, home runs and games played. His success was vital to the Cubs, and like manager Joe Maddon said “you go, we go” meaning if Fowler plays well, the entire team does.

Clearly, Fowler has earned himself a huge pay raise because of his breakout year. Many think he has played his way into earning $20 million per season, something the Cubs might not be willing to offer. After all, Fowler will be 30 next season, and history shows many careers start going downhill once a player reaches their 30s.

What the Cubs more than likely will do is give Fowler a qualifying offer, which he will most likely reject. If he does decline the offer and signs with a new team, the Cubs will receive a compensatory first-round draft pick from whoever signs him.

Fowler’s departure would leave a gaping hole in center field and the leadoff spot in the batting order. Chicago has 21-year-old first-rounder Albert Almora in Double-A Tennessee, but he is not expected to be big league ready on Opening Day 2016.

This leaves the team with two options: sign a more cost-effective replacement or look within to replace their catalyst.

Next: Denard Span