UPDATE: Just two days after Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reported that the Dexter Fowler signed a three-year, $35 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles, the outfielder has agreed to a 2016 contract with a mutual option for 2017 with the Chicago Cubs, the team announced.
The deal between the two parties is a one-year deal worth $13 million with a $9 million mutual option. The deal with the Orioles fell through because the 29-year-old outfielder demanded an opt-out after the 2016 season and Baltimore would not give up a first round draft pick for just one-year of Fowler.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Orioles thought that Fowler would take his physical at their camp today, but he showed up in center field for the Cubs instead of meeting with the Orioles.
As a matter of fact, the Orioles did not believe they had an agreement with Dexter Fowler at the time of reports, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
Fowler will take the starting center field job and Jason Heyward will play in right field, while Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber will split time in left field. Look for Javier Baez to serve as a backup to Addison Russell at shortstop and Ben Zobrist at second base.
"This is it. We're not trading anyone else. We feel great about our outfield mix," said Theo Epstein, the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs.
"This is where my heart is," Fowler said. The outfielder walked on the field to surprise the Cubs players and announce the deal himself, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
Interestingly enough, the terms for Fowler are the exact same that were given to Yovani Gallardo before the deal hit a halt due to an issue with Gallardo's physical. The Orioles were originally discussing a two-year, $24 million contract with the outfielder, as reported by Roch Kubatko of MASNSports, but the two parties decided to agree on a third-year.
Since the Orioles signed Fowler, they are forced to give up the No. 28 pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, which will take place in June.
The 29-year-old, who was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 14th round of the 2004 MLB Draft, made his debut on September 2, 2008. Since then, Fowler has played for the Rockies (2008-2013), Houston Astros (2014) and Chicago Cubs (2015) across his eight-year career.
Last season, the outfielder slashed .250/.346/.411 with 149 hits, 29 doubles, eight triples, a career-high 17 home runs, 46 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 156 games played. He will probably improve on those numbers at Camden Yards, which is known as a hitter-friendly park.
Fowler, throughout his career, has a .267 batting average with 65 home runs and 114 RBI across 3,278 at-bats in 939 games. The graduate of Milton High School in Georgia has proved to be better than he was expected out of the 2004 draft.
The Orioles have Nolan Reimold, Adam Jones and Dariel Alvarez slated as the current starting outfielder. Fowler will automatically replace Alvarez in right field. Hyun Soo Kim, Joey Rickard and Ryan Flaherty will serve as backups, along with Alvarez. Mark Trumbo, who is slated as the starting designated hitter, could see some time in the outfield.