What the hell just happened?
Two days ago, it was reported that Dexter Fowler had agreed to a three year deal with the Baltimore Orioles. There was a tornado of misinformation about which draft picks the Cubs would get back because their free agent with a qualifying offer had been signed. And we all thought that an outfield of Jason Heyward being flanked by Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber was set in stone to the extent that the one guy the Cubs could have brought back to change that was off the market.
The Orioles thought the move was done to the extent that they thought Fowler would be in their camp today for a physical…
The Orioles thought Fowler would take his physical in their camp today. Instead, he showed up in center field for the Cubs.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 25, 2016
But, for the second time this off-season, Theo Epstein and Co. pushed until the ink was dry to get their man. In the most stunning move the Cubs have made in my lifetime, Dexter Fowler walked back onto the field in Mesa today.
Theo Epstein on re-signing Dexter Fowler (video) https://t.co/4gghda2JBc
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) February 25, 2016
What does it all mean?
Well, some clarity was gained by, under normal circumstances, a moderately significant move before the Fowler deal was announced. Chris Coghlan was traded to Oakland for Aaron Brooks. That frees up an outfield position for Fowler, who comes back to play in center field, and will be flanked by Jason Heyward and, presumably, a Kyle Schwarber/ Jorge Soler platoon in left.
For his part, Theo Epstein said he was done making moves in the outfield, and that they “feel great” about what they have out there (because, no kidding!!!!).
Theo: “This is it. We’re not trading anyone else. We feel great about our outfield mix.”
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) February 25, 2016
It is entirely too early to speculate on anything else the Cubs may do. Theo said last month at the Cubs Convention that he thought they were done with significant moves this off-season and they’ve made two of them today. So when he says that they will not be moving anybody, it should be taken with a grain of salt. It is entirely possible that they go into and through the season with this mix of players, giving Joe Maddon more options than even he could know what to do with.
All we actually know right now is that a very strong Cubs team just improved even more.
Feature Image from Getty Images