According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs are “focusing the money they saved” on signing John Lackey to a two-year, $32 million contract “on trying to get top free agent outfielder Jason Heyward.”
The Sun-Times explained Jason Heyward is the Cubs preference and Alex Gordon is “a Plan B Option.” If the Cubs do not land either the front office could trade for Carlos Gomez. Signing Heyward or Gordon or trading for Gomez “could, in turn, make a trade of right fielder Jorge Soler the next domino to fall in the off-season plans.”
Jed Hoyer told the beat writers Monday the front office has “some available resources.” The Sun-Times explained that if the Cubs were to sign Heyward a contract “likely would have to be at least modestly back- or middle-loaded to fit the Cubs’ shifting payroll in the next few years.”
Jason Heyward is believed to be looking for at least an eight-year contract, and most predictions have the 26-year old signing a 10-year contract for around $220 million. Heyward is also tied to draft pick compensation. The Cubs would have to forfeit its highest available pick if the front office signs him. The Cubs lost the first round pick in June’s Draft when the team signed John Lackey.
Heyward had an excellent year with the Cardinals both at the plate and in the field. Heyward hit .293/.359/.439 with 33 doubles, four triples and 13 home runs for a .797 OPS. Heyward walked 56 times with 90 strikeouts, stole a career-high 23 bases and drove in 60 runs.
Heyward is arguably the best defensive right fielder in baseball that can play center field when needed. The Cubs interest in Heyward has been tied to the front office trading Jorge Soler for pitching. Based on the reports, the Cubs view Heyward as a right fielder and would still acquire a center fielder to replace Dexter Fowler. But Comcast SportsNet reported “the Cubs have envisioned Jason Heyward batting leadoff and playing center field at Wrigley Field.”
In 25 career games at Wrigley Field, Heyward owns a .311/.376/.522 slash line with five doubles, a triple and four home runs for a .898 OPS.
The Cardinals are focused on re-signing Jason Heyward. The Cardinals have an “open-dialogue” with Heyward’s representatives “and will continue to discuss a long-term deal” with him.
Free agent outfielders are expected to start signing this week. Teams are going to commit a lot of money and years to Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon and Jason Heyward.