Cubs Reportedly Agree to Terms With Jason Heyward; Now What?

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This is one of those days it feels to be wrong.  So very wrong.  I had no optimism whatsoever that Jason Heyward would depart the St. Louis Cardinals, much less reportedly agree to terms with the Cubs.

In so many ways, this opens doors for the Cubs that may not have been open had Heyward not agreed to terms.  The first, and most obvious move, is a potential trade of Jorge Soler for starting pitching, which is already being discussed in the immediate aftermath of the Heyward announcement.

Meanwhile, the news breaker of the hour is also reporting that the Cubs added Heyward to play in center field, flanked by Jorge Soler in right and Kyle Schwarber in left field.

In the short term, the options are plentiful.  The Cubs can proceed with the roster as currently constituted and be a really really good baseball team.  However, if the Cubs do proceed with a trade, likely of Soler, they can push forward in free agency by finding a center fielder like Denard Span or bringing back Austin Jackson as short-term or stop-gap players while waiting more young options to develop in the minor leagues.  

Less likely, and even less discussed, is the possibility of trading Soler, keeping Heyward in center, and moving Kris Bryant into right field.  Before he was called up, there was ample discussion of moving Bryant into the outfield.  That can remain a possibility in spite of the fact that Bryant performed well in his 1209 innings at third base in 2015.  His athleticism and arm strength are strong fits in right field.  In his limited 41 inning sample in right field, Bryant posted a 17.2 UZR/150.  That number would likely be lower spread over a full season, but still likely significantly higher than the -12.7 UZR/150 posted by Jorge Soler in 825 innings in 2015.  In addition, this would open up third base to get Javier Baez into the line-up everyday, either at third base or at second, shifting newly acquired Ben Zobrist over to third.  

Ultimately, this move makes the Cubs better without any following moves.  That is highly unlikely at this point, though.  This move also increases the already robust flexibility that the club had heading into 2016.  If it does nothing else, it makes the next 7 weeks before the Cubs Convention even more worth paying attention to.  

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About Andy

Sometimes I write stuff about the Cubs. Sometimes it's even good. But don't get your hopes up. Basically, my writing is like the pre-2016 Chicago Cubs.

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