CHICAGO -- Where will Dexter Fowler go? For the second straight year, the Cubs made a qualifying offer to the outfielder, who rejected such an offer last season only to re-sign with the team in late February.
After saying no to the $15.8 million qualifying offer last November, Fowler, 30, ended up returning to the Cubs, signing a one-year, $13 million deal with an option for 2017. He provided the spark at the top of the lineup for the second straight year, batting .276. However, Fowler appears set to test the market again, rejecting the mutual option for 2017 on Saturday.
The Cubs did not make qualifying offers to their other eligible free agents, including pitchers Travis Wood, Joe Smith and Trevor Cahill, outfielder Chris Coghlan and infielder Munenori Kawasaki.
On Sunday, the Cubs declined to pick up Jason Hammel's $12 million option for 2017, and the right-hander joined the list of free-agent pitchers.
Major League teams had until 4 p.m. CT on Monday to extend qualifying offers to their impending free agents. By doing so, the team would secure Draft pick compensation for the loss of that player. The qualifying offer this time is a one-year value of $17.2 million.
Players have one week to accept the qualifying offer or reject it and pursue a more lucrative free-agent deal.
Three players have accepted the qualifying offers since the option was implemented in 2012 (Matt Wieters, Colby Rasmus and Brett Anderson).
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. 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.