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Dexter Fowler will be a free agent, but he's not counting out a return to Cubs

CBS Sports


Center fielder Dexter Fowler of the world-champion Cubs has a $9 million mutual option for 2017 in the one-year contract he signed in late February. Since a mutual option requires both sides -- i.e., player and club -- to agree to the terms for the option to be in force, it takes only one side to decline it. While it's not a surprise, that's exactly what's going to happen.

As ESPN reports , Fowler on Thursday says he's going to become a free agent this offseason, which means he's going to decline his half of that mutual option. This is a very rational decision by Fowler. Last offseason, receiving a qualifying offer artificially limited his market, so he wound up returning to the Cubs at rates well below what he would've received on an open market.