SARASOTA, Fla. - Dexter Fowler is telling reporters at the Cubs spring training complex that he never had an agreement with the Orioles.
Meanwhile, multiple sources confirmed on Tuesday that the deal was completed. One person in the organization told me, “It’s done.”
It’s become evident that Fowler wanted a shorter deal - he agreed to one year and a mutual option with the Cubs - or an opt-out clause. The Orioles weren’t going to surrender their compensatory draft pick under those terms.
Manager Buck Showalter said he never anticipated that Fowler would sign with the Orioles. Meanwhile, reporters were stunned by the news.
“I’m not,” he said. “I tell you all the time.”
Asked whether he thought the Orioles had an agreement, he replied, “Ask Dan (Duquette). No. I didn’t feel like it was close. It was just a guy we were talking to. But what I was made aware of, it doesn’t surprise me.”
Showalter will remain focused on the outfielders in camp.
“We’ve been looking at options and comparing them to what we have and there’s a lot of things we passed on. We like what we have better, especially when we were able to bring back some of the people we had. The health of a lot of guys that we didn’t have last year is what we’re hoping for. I won’t say count on, we’re hoping for.”
Showalter’s roll call included Jonathan Schoop, J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters.
“A bunch of guys we didn’t have last year,” he said. “We’re hoping that makes us better. But we’ve added a lot of guys who weren’t hear last year.”
I received a text message from one player and an e-mail from someone else in the organization asking what happened with Fowler.
“That’s because of what they were, I’m sure, reading what people were writing. We didn’t tell them that,” Showalter said. “I think it’s the world they understand that they live in. The (Yovani) Gallardo thing back and forth.”
Oh, yeah, Gallardo.
He’s expected to throw his first bullpen session on Saturday. The Orioles don’t know whether he’s going to pitch in one of the intrasquad games.
They also don’t know who’s playing right field.