Photo Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Dexter Fowler is the one player who, from a PR standpoint, could turn the Blue Jays’ off-season from disappointment or disaster into jubilation.
I honestly believe this.
I’m not even sure that the club suddenly re-signing Edwin Encarnacion — which I still very much don’t think they’d do now that Kendrys Morales is aboard — would light up the fan base in the same way. “Damn right they signed Edwin, it shoulda never been a question!” is what I think the basic reaction to that one would be.
Fowler would be different, because Fowler is new and shiny. And because Fowler means excitement. Speed at the top of the lineup! A switch-hitting outfielder capable of playing in centre! A bit of pop, impressive on-base numbers, great base running. The guy who did the backwards trot to lead off Game Seven of the World Series!
Maybe I’m way wrong and the only one who thinks this way, but I figure the superficial awareness of who Fowler is and what he would mean for this club — especially after the World Series — is just enough to honestly get the fan base’s heart rate pumping. And for those who follow the sport a little more deeply, there’s obviously a whole lot to like there, too.
Enough to justify such squishy feelings? I don’t know. But I sure as hell would like to find out.
For a team looking to get a bit younger, a bit faster, a bit less right handed, while maintaining the kind of financial flexibility that they simply couldn’t by retaining their two departing sluggers, an off-season in which they added Fowler, Kendrys Morales, and another recognizable piece or three, would be a bit of a coup.
If he’s going to cost less than Edwin? Do the hell out of that deal and don’t look back.
Obviously — as Shi Davidi wrote on Monday — it’s not quite so simple. There are other teams out there who are interested. The Jays aren’t in the driver’s seat and it may “come down to where he wants to play.” But the thing about that is: where better?
Or… OK, maybe not “where better?” Because sure, there are a tonne of great cities in the league that anybody would want to be a millionaire athlete in. But unlike in years past, when the Rogers Centre crowds were mostly tepid, the Jays have got a hell of a thing going on right now. And in the name of all that is decent — and I mean this about not just Fowler, but everything this winter — they should be damn well taking advantage of it!
Give your ol’ teammate a call, Tulo, and make sure he knows!
Because Shi says the Jays are willing to give up a draft pick to make it happen. And here on Tuesday night, Jon Heyman is saying at FanRag that the Jays have “strong interest” in Fowler.
That’s maybe not anything we haven’t heard already, but damn it, let’s make this happen. Let’s add a damn piece to this roster that makes fans think the front office actually does see a window that’s open beyond 2017. Let’s not kill the golden goose in the name of cost-certainty, financial flexibility, and rolling the dice on eventually hitting on enough of the right prospects to get you back to exactly where you already are right now.