QUESTION: Moving on from Ozuna and keeping guys like Fowler and Martinez makes no sense for 2020. What are the odds that the team attempts to move Fowler this winter, likely eating a lot of his remaining contract, re-signs Ozuna, and lets the kids fight it out for CF/RF while sprinkling in Martinez?
COMMISH: I don't see how they can't put up a fight to maintain Ozuna, who says he really likes playing here. Martinez is signed for next year as a valuable reserve/sometime starter.
Depending on how the "kids" progress, Fowler's job could be tenuous, but he has no-trade protection and he's liable to hit 20 home runs this season. His year hasn't been bad, despite a low batting average.
Follow-up: I've heard or read that Dexter is very well thought-of by his teammates. Do you feel he is more of an important cog on this team than fans realize.
COMMISH: You probably are right on this one. Fowler is well-liked and highly respected in the clubhouse. His absence would be noticed. And, he has hit 13 homers this season. Not an easy decision for the front office to make after the year, and Fowler has contractural power over any potential move.
To one more question about Fowler's future, Commish replied:
Fowler doesn't have to go anywhere, if he doesn't want to. Given his age and contract, he might not attract a top talent, but they have to decide if they want to keep him anyway. His average is low, but some of his numbers aren't that bad and he's played center field all right, too.