The Heyward Signing: What Does It Mean?

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heyward 851 2 signIt’s only been about 5 hours since I heard the news at lunch.

I honestly didn’t think the Cubs were going to get Jason Heyward yesterday when rumors about the price range reached $200 million and 8 years. In fact, word about the details leaked late this afternoon. Jason Heyward is now the highest paid Cub ever! Over the next 8 years, Heyward is scheduled to make $184 million with opt out clauses after years 3 and/or 4 based on performance clasues. For Heyward, he cashes in now when he is 26, and he can cash in later when he is 29 or 30; and still get a nice payday then. Ken Rosenthal writes:

The first opt-out clause will give Heyward a chance to re-enter the market at 29 — still in his prime. The contract is expected to be front-loaded, with the Cubs gladly paying a premium in the early years. If Heyward performs well and bolts, so be it. The Cubs might win a World Series by then.

What Does It Mean for the Offense:
You have a player who will be in the prime of his career the next 4 seasons of the deal. Heyward has improved his batting average and on base percentage the past two years. He has the potential to be a 20/20 player every year. A left hander at the plate, Heyward gives the Cubs 3 of the game’s top lefties along with Rizzo and Schwarber. He could hit 2nd, he could hit 5th or 7th. Wherever Joe Maddon wants to put him, that’s where he will go. I think it all depends on the pitcher.

Possible Lineup
Zobrist (S)
Heyward (L)
Rizzo (L)
Bryant (R)
Schwarber (L)
Soler (R)
Monetro (L)
Russell (R)

Outside of Monetro/Ross, all these kids are under 26. They will all be in their prime years the next 3-4 years. It is becoming unreal to think that this team will be together for a while.

heyward 851 1 signThis is one monster lineup that Joe will tinker with on a daily basis. I love the balance between right handers and left handers, something has talked about since he came a year ago. Maddon will have a lot of options to use including Baez and LaStella off the bench.

I don’t think Heyward is going to be expected to hit homers. I think his job will be to get on base so the next three guys can drive him in. It is going to be scary good how devastating this offense can be. Teams will bring their “A” game to face the Cubs next year. They will need to.

Did I mention we add Javier Baez to the lineup when we the Cubs are in the AL parks? Fun, fun, fun!

What Does It mean for the Defensive Lineup
Heyward has one of the best arms in all of baseball. He was ranked 13th in all of MLB in dWAR regardless of position. It’s hard to imagine, but his arm is better than Soler’s. I see Heyward in CF next year, for now, but not long term. This might cause some problems as to where to put him in year 2 or 3 of his contract when the Cubs will likely have a more truer CF in Albert Almora. Then again, Almora doesn’t have the bat of Heyward. Almora has better range and Heyward also has the better arm.

I am still not sure how this will work. I think Heyward is best suited to right field. Whether Soler stays in right and/or the Cubs get a CF later this winter remains to be seen. The Cubs definitely have a lot of options. Let’s give it some time to play out.

What’s Left to Get This Winter
I would feel more comfortable adding a truer CF and another pitcher. Jake McGee and Jake Odorizzi come to mind for pitchers. I don’t think the Cubs need to trade within the NL. I think they have to go AL. I don’t want to see whomever is traded come back and haunt the Cubs in a game or NL Playoffs. Since the Cubs only face AL teams every three years, I’d be OK trading with a Tampa, Cleveland, or Baltimore.

Getting the CF is not going to come cheap. The Cubs could trade major league talent or a mixture of major league and minor league talent to get their final few needs for 2016. I think the free agent market has been all played/spent out. It’s time to see that creativity Theo has talked about this offseason.

PS – This is so GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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