Fowler opts back in to Cubs' quest for title run

Outfielder returns to Chicago after talks break down with Orioles

Fowler opts back in to Cubs' quest for title run

MESA, Ariz. -- Dexter Fowler didn't have a nameplate on his locker early Friday in the Cubs clubhouse, but he felt right at home. He also has a much better understanding of the business of baseball following his offseason.

Fowler rejoined the Cubs on Thursday, signing a one-year, $8 million contract with an option for 2017. Earlier in the week, there were reports that he had agreed to a three-year deal with the Orioles, but he said there was no verbal agreement with Baltimore.

Fowler signs with Cubs, not Orioles

Orioles officials said Fowler's agent Casey Close insisted on an opt-out clause. Fowler denied that was part of their agenda.

"No, that wasn't the sticking point," Fowler said. "That's why it's weird. It's a little murky. That wasn't the sticking point at all."

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette offered a different opinion: "We made a very competitive offer. The issue was the opt-out. The Orioles have made it clear that that type of deal wouldn't really work for us. … There was not an agreement to terms, because they kept insisting on an opt-out. I don't see, club ownership doesn't see, the value in that type of arrangement to the Orioles. If we are going to guarantee a contract, it should be a contract.''

Rosenthal on Fowler

Close issued a statement late Thursday, saying he had never "witnessed such irresponsible behavior on so many fronts" by Baltimore's front office. Fowler said he was in the process of picking out fixtures for the new house he's building in Las Vegas when he heard the reports about the deal with the Orioles.

"Casey's here for me," Fowler said of his agent. "He's here for the other players and, obviously, the process didn't go like it was supposed to. He was pretty irritated about it."

Fowler did talk to Adam Jones about possibly signing with the Orioles.

"I didn't tell him anything," Fowler said of his conversation with Jones. "He texted me [Thursday] and said, 'My bad. I jumped the gun.' I said, 'It would be awesome to play with you guys.' It would've been awesome to play with him."

• Fowler fallout: 4 questions after his return to the Cubs

Instead, Fowler is reunited with the Cubs, whom he helped reached the National League Championship Series last season.

"[Kris Bryant] was always asking me to come back," Fowler said of his offseason workouts with Bryant in Las Vegas. "He said, 'Hurry up, c'mon, come back here.' It's good to be back."

What did Fowler learn about free agency?

"There were ups and downs," Fowler said. "At the end of the day, you learn, and that's the most important thing. It was good to go through the process and see what's going on and talking to the union and talking to different owners and talking to players. They say the best medicine is experience."

What about that nameplate?

"[Clubhouse manager Tom Hellmann] said he was about to give away my number," Fowler said, laughing. "I said, 'You better not.'"

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.