Fowler, Chapman keep tabs on talks from afar

Free agents, who aren't ruling out return to Cubs, letting negotiations play out

Fowler, Chapman keep tabs on talks from afar

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- Straight from the euphoria of being part of perhaps the most historic championship team of all-time to the reality of free agency, closer Aroldis Chapman and center fielder Dexter Fowler are having some fun in the sun this weekend at David Ortiz's Celebrity Golf Classic.

While it seems more likely than not that both cornerstone players will be employed by a new team next season, they are both at least keeping a return to the Cubs as a possibility.

"I would love to, but right now they're negotiating," said Chapman said through an interpreter. "I would love to come back to the Cubs, but it's not up to me, it's up to them. They're in negotiations."

Chapman to reunite with Yankees?

Last year, Fowler surprised the Cubs by re-joining them as a free agent during Spring Training after everyone thought he was going to Baltimore.

"There's always a chance -- there's always a chance for everything," Fowler said. "Obviously I can't tell what the future holds. Right now, I'm just trying to see what's out there and see where it takes me."

Judging by the way Fowler was talking, he didn't seem all that optimistic about a return to Wrigley.

Fowler's Cubs future in doubt

Are the Cubs his top choice?

"Top choice right now is whoever wants to give me a job, so we'll see," Fowler said. ""I don't have a clue. Like I said, I can't tell you what the future holds, but hopefully it's bright."

Just as many teams could use a player with Fowler's dynamic skillset at the top of the order, Chapman's 100-mph heater in the ninth inning would look good in plenty of cities.

Chapman's 1 1/3 relief innings

Chapman has tried not to let the process consume him.

"The process has been the same [as other offseasons]," the closer said. "Just taking a few days off and taking vacation with my family. Now I'm going back to training and getting in good shape and getting ready for next season."

But as Fowler elaborated, winning that World Series championship was life-altering.

"It's been surreal," said Fowler. "I still haven't realized what just happened. The amount of people -- you realize each day how many people have really watched Game 7. They know who you are and they're singing your praises, especially since the Cubs won."

Fowler's leadoff home run

And they also know who hit the home run to lead off that epic Game 7.

"It's definitely been a topic of conversation each time somebody comes in and they do see me," said Fowler. "'Oh, you hit that homer. That was awesome.' Then I go in and explain what happened. It's been a fun ride. Last winter obviously was tough. It's all hindsight, but everything happens for a reason. I put myself back in the right situation and won a championship so that's always a blessing."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.