Now, before we get started, I just wanted to let you all know that this is my own personal opinion. And that, as you could see by the title of this article, is the Chicago Cubs will not bring veteran outfielder Dexter Fowler back for another run on the North Side.
Why am I saying this? There’s nowhere for him to start. I’m not taking away the fact that he’s an amazing player both on the field and in the batters box, but the 2016 depth chart is pretty much set in stone when it comes to the starting nine.
And he’s a player that does not belong on the bench.
The lineup, if hadn’t already figured it out, will be Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Miguel Montero, Jake Arrieta (or said pitcher), Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Jorge Soler. I highly doubt that’s what the batting order will be, but just an idea of who will start.
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Being a huge fan of Valbuena, I was upset to see him but knew the timing was right considering how well he started playing the past two seasons since joining the Cubs.
As the season progressed, it looked as if both teams had come away as winners with both men contributing to their postseason run. Valbuena, who was nicknamed Valbooma — if I remember that correctly, ended the season with a career-high 25 home runs and 56 runs batted in for the A.L. Wild Card winning Astros.
Fowler, on the other hand, ended the season with 17 homers, 46 RBI, 20 stolen bases, 84 walks, 29 doubles, and eight triples while hitting .250/.346./411 in 596 at-bats. His biggest hit of the season came during the N.L. Wild Card game in Pittsburgh when he belted a solo homer.
The soon-to-be 30-year-old was 10-for-36 in the postseason with two big flies and three RBI. Shortly after the Chicago Cubs were eliminated in the National League Championship Series, Fowler rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer, making him a free agent.
That’s when the Cubs made the decision to go after Heyward following the signings of both Zobrist and John Lackey. But sure, it would be nice if they did find a way to make it work, but it’s highly unlikely.
He’s still interacting with Cubs fans across the globe, which is nice to see. There’s no doubt that he’s one of the best all-around human beings in the league, but it doesn’t change that fact that professional baseball, is indeed, a business.
Teams such as the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels could be in the mix to acquire his services. The Angels are currently without a starting left fielder, so there’s a solid chance that he ends up going up against his former team on Opening Day.