The Cubs completed what was already a good week by signing the top free agent position player on the market. The front office landed Jason Heyward on Friday when he chose the Cubs over the Cardinals and Nationals.
Jason Heyward is penciled in as the Cubs’ centerfielder, according to multiple reports, but that could change before the end of the calendar year or by the time the convention rolls around in mid-January.
Heyward reportedly agreed to an eight-year, $184 million contract that includes two vesting options. Multiple reports indicated Heyward will receive the ability to opt out after the third and fourth year of the contract if he exceeds a certain amount of plate appearances. The breakdown of his contract has not been leaked but it’s not believed to be front-loaded.
The two options Heyward received are incredibly valuable and give him an opportunity to land a bigger contract the first time soon after his 29th birthday.
It’s believed the Cubs signed Heyward for less than what the Cardinals and Nationals offered him. The total value of the contract may be less, but the AAV (annual average value) of $23 million is reportedly higher. Plus, it is unclear how many years were in the offers from the Cardinals and Nationals.
The Cubs were able to sign two of the top position-player free agents for less guaranteed money than offers they received from other clubs. Over the last two years, the Cubs have become a team that players want to be a part of and far from the doormats of the NL Central.
Baseball spent Friday afternoon reacting to Heyward signing with the Cubs. The reports from the mainstream supported the move for the most part. The Cubs’ beat writers provided additional information on the team landing Heyward. And the reaction over Heyward choosing the Cubs over the Cardinals was as expected from the St. Louis media and fan base.
- The Tribune: Jason Heyward signing signals Cubs resolve to win World Series now
- ESPN Chicago: Cubs score big with addition of Jason Heyward
- Comcast SportsNet: Jason Heyward megadeal reinforces World Series expectations for Cubs
- The Sun-Times: Cubs land prized free agent outfielder Jason Heyward for eight years, $184 million
- Bernie Miklasz: Another Swing and Miss By the Cardinals. What’s The Plan?
- Derrick Goold: Cards lose Heyward to Cubs
- Joel Sherman: Did Mets just let the aggressive Cubs claw past them in the NL?
- Rob Neyer: Did Cubs just buy themselves World Series title?
- ESPN Chicago: Jason Heyward completes the Cubs offense … and team makeover
- USA Today: Jason Heyward a good get for Cubs, but NL Central far from a done deal
- Keith Law: Jason Heyward deal gives Cubs the top free agent at an extraordinary value
- Comcast SportsNet: What the Jason Heyward deal means for Jorge Soler and Javier Baez
- Ken Rosenthal: Cubs president Theo Epstein the architect behind baseball’s newest juggernaut
Reports continue to surface that the Cubs could try to trade for Ender Inciarte. The Braves say he’s not available. If John Coppolella did let him go, it would take quite a bit to acquire Inciarte.
Buster Olney included Inciarte in Friday’s column …
“Inciarte rated as a league-average offensive player in terms of OPS relative to ballpark (and ranked as the fifth-toughest to strikeout in the NL), but greatly bolstered his value with his defense. His 29 defensive runs saved ranked second in the majors last season. He accumulated those by playing all three outfield spots, netting 13 in 539 innings in right field, 12 in 372 innings in left field and four runs in 152 innings in center.”
Lefty Drake Britton was not able to get his career back on track in the Cubs’ organization last season and recently signed a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers. Britton received a non-roster invite to Spring Training with the Tigers.
Britton was in big league camp with the Cubs last spring after he was claimed off waivers in early February. The Cubs granted him free agency in November.
Britton did not make it back to the majors with the Cubs. Britton made 28 appearances, 11 starts, for the I-Cubs this past season. Britton was 7-8 with a 5.08 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Britton allowed 51 runs, 47 earned, on 80 hits with 33 walks and 45 strikeouts in 83 1/3 innings.
According to Baseball America, OF Rubi Silva signed a minor league contract with the Orioles. The Cubs released Silva on Aug. 2.
The 26-year old Silva spent his entire pro career in the Cubs system prior to his release. Silva batted .282/.295/.487 in 98 games for Triple-A Iowa last season with 16 doubles, six triples and 11 home runs.
Over his five-year career, Rubi Silva put together a .282/.305/.429 line with a .734 OPS.
News, Notes and Rumors
• With Jason Heyward no longer an option, the Cardinals are pursuing Carlos Gonzalez, among others according to a report from Hardball Talk. Chris Davis, Alex Gordon and Justin Upton are some of the free agents the Cardinals have considered signing.
• Several former Cubs signed minor league contracts with other organizations according to Baseball America. LHP Jeff Beliveau (Orioles), RHP Rafael Dolis (Tigers), RHP Lendy Castillo (Tigers), RHP Jake Brigham (Tigers) and RHP Jim Henderson (Mets) inked minor deals for the 2016 season.
• Jim Bowden handed out off-season grades thus far for all 30 teams. The Cubs received an ‘A’ from Bowden for the additions and changes the front office has done to this point of baseball’s second season.
• Before Jason Heyward agreed to terms with the Cubs, Dave Cameron took a look at which one of the three teams (Cubs, Cardinals and Nationals) he fit best. Cameron thought Heyward would be a better fit back with the Cardinals than signing with the Cubs or Nationals.
• After signing with the Cubs, Ben Zobrist said the reason he did not sign with the Nationals was because he “didn’t feel comfortable in the Nationals’ clubhouse.” The Washington Post came up with a few reasons that may have led to Zobrist feeling uncomfortable about the Nationals.
• Kerry Wood’s 5th Annual Woody’s Winter Warm-Up is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 16. Click here for details and follow the link to purchase tickets.
This Day In Cubstory
2014 – Cubs signed free agent Jason Hammel
2013 – Cubs acquired Justin Ruggiano from the Marlins for Brian Bogusevic
2013 – Marlins selected Justin Bour from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft (minor league phase)
2013 – Diamondbacks selected Marco Mateo from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Ian Stewart
2012 – Cubs selected Sandy Rosario off waivers from the Red Sox
2011 – Cubs granted free agency to Koyie Hill
2010 – Cubs released David Patton
2008 – Cubs granted free agency to Neal Cotts
2007 – Cubs signed free agent Kosuke Fukudome
2007 – Cubs granted free agency to Mark Prior
1999 – Cubs traded Manny Alexander to the Red Sox for Damon Buford
1999 – Cubs acquired Eric Young and Ismael Valdez from the Dodgers for Terry Adams, Chad Ricketts and a PTBNL. Cubs sent Brian Stephens to the Dodgers on Dec. 16 to complete the trade.
1997 – Cubs acquired Henry Rodriguez from the Expos for Miguel Batista
1994 – Cubs signed free agent Larry Casian
1980 – Cubs traded Jerry Martin, Jesus Figueroa and a PTBNL to the Giants for Phil Nastu and Joe Strain. Cubs sent Mike Turgeon to the Giants on Aug. 11, 1981 to complete the trade.
1980 – Cubs acquired Hector Cruz from the Reds for Mike Vail
1927 – Cubs purchased Johnny Butler from the Robins
1913 – Cubs released second baseman-manager Johnny Evers
1903 – Cubs acquired Mordecai Brown and Jack O’Neill from the Cardinals for Jack Taylor and Al McLean
A tip of the cap to all of our readers for a record-breaking week at the CCO. I truly appreciate everyone that reads Chicago Cubs Online on a daily basis. Thank you.