The Orioles were looking to finish off a spending spree of an offseason by signing Dexter Fowler from the Cubs, but in the end the outfielder decided to go back to Chicago.
The Fowler deal seemed real, as multiple baseball industry sources were confirming to multiple baseball journalists that the lead-off man inked a three-year deal with Baltimore. But by Thursday morning, the Cubs were announcing that Fowler had opted for the ivy over the warehouse for a one-year deal. So what happened?
Orioles VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette said that Fowler wanted an opt-out clause, which essentially gives Fowler the right to get out of the contract early. When the Orioles wouldn’t grant the contractual right, Fowler opted out of the deal altogether.
“The Orioles have made it clear that that type of deal wouldn’t really work for us. Based on that, it sounds to me like he wanted to return to Chicago,” Duquette said.
ESPN called Fowler’s move a “gut punch,” as it denied the team of a much-sought-after reliable outfielder and leadoff hitter. After salivating at the idea of a completed regular lineup earlier this week, fans we’re happy either. It was the second time in a week that a deal became uneasy even after initial reports.
All looked clear for a deal with starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo to go through, but the Orioles wanted to take another look at the right-hander following his initial physical. In the end, Gallardo ended up signing to a three-year deal with the O’s, leaving the team 1-for-2 in this week’s swings at the free agent market.
After this week, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a little more skepticism over initial reports of signings in the future.
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