The Chicago Cubs have extended a $15.8-million qualifying offer to Dexter Fowler before Friday’s deadline, and according to a source the 29-year-old outfielder is expected to decline and become a free agent.
This does not come as a surprise as no player has accepted a qualifying offer under the current format. Some players have turned down a qualifying offer and re-signed with the team, but the majority move on, so it appears less likely that Fowler will return to the Cubs on a long-term deal.
Though the chances of Fowler's return are weakened once he hits the open market, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer didn't close the door on it.
“We plan on talking with (agent) Casey Close,” Hoyer said Friday. “We had a great year with Dexter. He was a catalyst for our offense all year.”
In 2015, Fowler hit .250 with a career-high 17 home runs and stole 20 bases in 156 games. He led the team with 102 runs scored in his first season with the Cubs and was a key contributor during the second half of the season when he hit .272 with a .389 on-base percentage.
Fowler has until Nov. 13 to accept the offer. If he signs elsewhere, the Cubs would receive an extra pick in next June's MLB draft as compensation.