Dexter Fowler’s drawn-out free agency finally came to an end Thursday as he followed his heart back to Chicago. But not everyone was pleased with the storybook ending.
Fowler’s agent, Casey Close, released a scathing statement Thursday criticizing both the Orioles and the media.
“In my 25 years in the business, never have I witnessed such irresponsible behavior on so many fronts,” the statement read. “Both the Orioles front office and members of the media were so busy recklessly spreading rumors that they forget or simply chose not to concern themselves with the truth. The Orioles’ willful disregard of collectively bargained rules governing free agency and the media’s eager complicity in helping the Orioles violate rules are reprehensible. Dexter Fowler never reached an agreement with the Orioles and did not come close to signing with the club; any suggestion otherwise is only a continuation of an already disturbing trend.”
Fowler had been rumored to be in discussions with the Orioles for days, and Tuesday a Buster Olney report citing sources first announced that Fowler had agreed to a three-year deal with Baltimore.
The outfielder shocked his Cubs teammates Thursday when he showed up at Chicago’s spring training facility in Mesa, Arizona with a new deal.
Officially, Fowler will return to the Cubs on a one-year contract with $13 million guaranteed.
Fowler turned down 15.8M (cubs), 23M/2 (O's), 33M/3 (O's) before taking 13M/1 (8M salary, 5M buyout). Very unusual. #cubs— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 25, 2016
Welcome back welcome back welcome backkkkk @DexterFowler— Anthony Rizzo (@ARizzo44) February 25, 2016
Despite Close insisting Fowler never came close to signing with Baltimore, Orioles beat reporter Roch Kubatko is claiming Baltimore felt that it had reached an agreement with the outfielder. Olney added that the Orioles were expecting Fowler to show up to camp Thursday, and he did – just not their camp.
Fowler wanted a shorter deal, an opt out. #orioles weren't going there. But weird thing is O's felt had agreement. Fowler told Jones.— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) February 25, 2016
Orioles source says there was no way the team was going to give 1-year opt out on Fowler while giving up their 2nd pick in draft to get him.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 25, 2016
Close is known as a heavy hitter in the baseball industry. As a part of Excel Sports Management, he’s represented many big-name talents including Derek Jeter, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Ryan Howard and Derrek Lee.