Yesterday, the Orioles were reportedly exuding confidence that they would land both Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler, two of the last remaining notable free agents. By signing both qualified free agents, the draft pick compensation cost to the Orioles is effectively reduced (relative to other teams, and other free agents, if you sign only one qualified free agent*). Further, by waiting these two out until February, the Orioles figure to get a good deal on both.

To that end, Buster Olney hears that there is now an expectation that Fowler will sign with the Orioles, and the range he’ll receive in a contract is something between “great deal” and “bargain”:

Rumors had it that Fowler’s price tag was going to have to sink into the two-year, $20 million range that Howie Kendrick had to settle for, so this would be a little bit better. Indeed, if he gets three years and $39 million (the high end of what Olney cites there), it’s still a good deal for the Orioles, in my opinion, but it’s a decent deal for Fowler, too.

Hopefully this all gets squared away soon, Fowler gets paid, and the Cubs recoup their draft pick.

*(Which, as we’ve said before, is a side reason why it’s nice that the Cubs signed two qualified free agents this offseason in Jason Heyward and John Lackey. Had they signed each player in a separate offseason, for example, each would have cost a top pick. As it stands, each cost the Cubs something slightly less than a top pick, since the two signings are spread over a top pick and a second, lower pick. In this system, stacking qualified free agent signings – if you want the players anyway – is a good strategy.)




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