As the first full day of the Jason Heyward watch came to an end, the Cubs were believed to be one of three teams pursuing the 26-year old right fielder. Multiple reports suggested Heyward was possibly deciding between the Cubs and Cardinals throughout the day. The Nationals surfaced as the third team in the Heyward sweepstakes. And the Nationals have deep pockets, high expectations, big money coming off the books and an opening for Heyward in Dusty Baker’s outfield.
If Heyward chooses the Cardinals or the Nationals or a yet unidentified team, it is believed the Cubs will shift gears and turn its attention to free agent outfielder Alex Gordon.
Gordon has reportedly been high on the Cubs list the entire off-season.
During an interview last Saturday on Inside the Clubhouse (670 The Score), Peter Gammons discussed the Cubs interest in Alex Gordon.
“And I do think if they got [Alex] Gordon, I had always understood that Gordon and [John] Lackey were their primary goals,” Gammons said. “Gordon would play right field and [Kyle] Schwarber would stay in left field, which makes sense.”
Bruce Levine reported Thursday afternoon that if the Cubs are unable to sign Heyward, the front office “can go back to their original plan of making an offer to free-agent outfielder Alex Gordon.” And if the Cubs were to sign Gordon, he would move to right field.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have talked about the importance of improving the team’s outfield defense. Gordon is considered one of the best left fielders in the game, but he has very limited experience in the big leagues in right field, just three games in right back in 2010.
According to Levine, the Giants and Cubs “were considered one-two for Gordon’s services but the Orioles and Angels will be in the mix if Heyward inks a deal first.”
As for center field, if the front office signs either Heyward or Gordon, the Cubs would still look to add a true centerfielder to the roster. Theo Epstein talked about this week that they are willing to give up a little offense for a defensive oriented centerfielder.
Jorge Soler could be moved for pitching, either a starter or relievers. Levine reported his “market is as fluid as ever.” Soler could headline a package the Cubs would send to Cleveland for one of the Indians’ young controllable starters, either Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar. The Braves have shown interest in Soler but with Shelby Miller in Arizona and Julio Teheran no longer available it’s unclear if the Cubs and Braves could matchup on a trade.
The Cubs reached out to the Braves about Ender Inciarte but John Coppolella is not looking to move his new centerfielder.
While Jason Heyward is the focus right now, the front office will be prepared to move on quickly if he signs elsewhere. And the Cubs could just end up with their first choice.