Baltimore Orioles: Is Dexter Fowler next?

Courtesy of Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

Is Dexter Fowler the next 11th hour free agent the Baltimore Orioles will bring in?

The Baltimore Orioles upgraded their pitching staff over the weekend with the signing of Yovani Gallardo. Incidentally, Gallardo is expected in Sarasota today for his physical. However the other free agent to whom the O’s have been tied of late is Dexter Fowler. Might he be the next player headed to Ed Smith Stadium?

Courtesy of Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /

First off, Fowler would improve the Orioles without a doubt – although they already have a plethora of outfielders. He’s a career .267 hitter with an OBP of .363. He’s also a leadoff guy, which is something that the Orioles have needed for a few years. They’ve filled gaps with the likes of Markakis and Machado, however they haven’t had a true leadoff hitter in a couple of years.

Fowler’s signing would allow Machado to move down in the order and would thus streamline the lineup just a bit more than it already is. For a lineup that had in fact had it’s issues with getting on base for a few years, that could be a huge thing. If you have a guy like Fowler leading off who can possibly walk or single his way on base, you’re going to find yourself ahead early in games.

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    This isn’t to say that $24 million over two years is the greatest contract of all time. However it might be the best offer Fowler is getting. Both he and Gallardo were expected to be off the market well before they were – so the price is dropping, in other words.

    So where would this leave the plethora of outfielders the Orioles already have, such as Reimold and Urrutia? Odds are some will be slated for Norfolk. However not only does it give the Orioles depth in the outfield, but it also gives them trade bait. This team is shaping up to be a contender, and come the deadline this summer if Dan Duquette needs a minor leaguer or two to send to someone (perhaps for a pitcher), he’ll know where to look.

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    In the mean time, we sit and wait. I think that the Orioles will be a force with which to be reckoned with or without Fowler. And I do think that he’ll eventually be an Oriole. Furthermore I think he’ll make them an even greater force with which to reckon in the AL East. Does that mean that the Birds will dethrone Toronto as division champions? Tough to say at this point.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles sign Yovani Gallardo

    Incidentally that’s the question everyone’s asking – can the O’s reclaim the top spot in the division. And it’s just too early to know that yet, as we haven’t even seen them in a spring game at this point. But we’ll all be answering those questions as the season goes on.