Could The Cubs Do A Bad Contract Swap With Jason Heyward?

On December 15, 2015 the Cubs signed Jason Heyward to an eight-year $184 million contract. The tall right fielder was one of the most highly sought-after players on the free agent market that year. Heyward had a lot of appeal due to his elite defense and offensive ability that showed flashes of emerging. Teams believed in his power potential despite his not having fully met the promise that saw him hit 27 homers in 2012.

The Cubs, eager to move from rebuilding mode to competitive mode made the most aggressive offer to J-Hey. To begin with they gave him a full no-trade clause, something Theo Epstein has been reluctant to offer in contracts. The deal also included a player opt out after just three years. If Jason had a great run those three seasons he could opt out of the deal for a big payday in his age 29 season. If he struggled, Chicago would likely be saddled with the entire eight years of the deal.

As everyone knows by now, the latter scenario has come to pass. The Gold Glove level defense has been just as advertised, the J-Hey Kid won the award in 2016 and is likely to win it 2017. Offensively the results have not been great, a weak .715 OPS in 2017 was a drastic improvement over a ghastly .631 OPS in 2016. Constant mechanical changes have done little to improve his offensive performance.

Albert Almora Jr. and Ian Happ both had very impressive years in their first full MLB seasons in 2017. Almora played outstanding defense and posted a .782 OPS, .898 OPS against lefties, earning more playing time as the year went on. Happ made his debut in May and hit 24 homers with an .842 OPS and showed impressive speed and athleticism. Add in Kyle Schwarber's second-half surge and the Cubs outfield looks very crowded.

Some fans and writers have begun speculating that maybe the Cubs can shed Heyward's contract in some sort of bad asset swap for another team's burdensome contract or contracts. The latest was Phil Rogers of MLB.com who reported this via Twitter:

This is just one of many other rumors that have flown around the internet of late. The bigger question is, what are the chances Chicago could actually get out from under Heyward's contract? The answer is that it's possible, but not very likely to say the least.

To begin with Jason has the full no-trade clause as part of his deal. The Cubs attempted to trade Alfonso Soriano, who had the same no-trade clause, to the Giants in 2013. Sori blocked the trade preferring to stay with Chicago, and eventually he was traded to Yankees the next season. Heyward seems to like playing for the Cubs, so he would have to like the situation of the team he is shipped to. No dumping him in a baseball Siberia like Tampa or Miami to run out his contract.

For arguments sake, let's say that J-Hey was willing to waive his NTC and be traded. Then the Cubs have to actually find a team with similar bad deals to swap back. To lose a albatross deal you have to accept an albatross deal. It won't be a pretty deal or deals that come back, it will be something similar to Samardzija/Melancon. Honestly, that seems like too good of a return for Heyward so I doubt it happens (also my colleague Dan Travis informs me Melancon has a NTC and Samardzija has a limited NTC, so it's even more complicated).

The front office could try the deep fry approach to make the deal more appealing. Follow me here, when you have an unappealing food you can batter it and fry it to make it more tasty. So Chicago could package their right fielder with a more appealing player say Addison Russell or Javy Baez (not a thought I enjoy) to make eating the contract more palatable.

The odds seem to lean heavily against any trade involving J-Hey happening. The Cubs will likely make an effort to move the deal, the amount of smoke around a trade indicates some effort is being made. Just seems like too much has to align for it to happen: a team willing to eat Heyward's deal, a return on the deal that isn't worse, and finally Jason being willing to wave his no-trade. Like it or not, the Cubs are going to be in the Jason Heyward business for the next six years.

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  • Wouldn’t another component that would make trading Jhey tough be how much of the contract do the cubs have to pay for?

  • For what it's worth, his 2018 salary is ~28mil. After that it drops to about ~20mil for the next 5 years. Overall it's a slightly frontloaded contract.

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    In reply to LetTheKidsPlay:

    Which makes it quite posible if he can reform and have an OPS of 850~ 2018, then he may opt out regardless of the team he's on.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    If J-Hey puts up an 850 OPS (not impossible) I like the Cubs chances.

    I think climbing toward .750 is more likely and, to me, not implausible. I can imagine him putting together at least one more AS caliber season. He has the talent. If things start to break for him and fall into place he will be a very good player.

  • In reply to LetTheKidsPlay:

    Heyward contract for 2018 is $21.5M not ~28M. He is owed a $20M bonus. That bonus is to be paid in full if he opts out or, $5M a year from 2024-2027 if he finishes the 8 year deal.

  • I just can't think of an incentive strong enough for Jason to agree. It's akin to admitting defeat, since he'd likely be moving froma contender witha hoping core he could grow with (his words) to a rebuild upending his family who had been counting on staying in one place. Can anyone think of any motivation especially since he took less money than was available to come to the Cubs to begin with?

  • In reply to TheCHISportsFan:

    I've really got to start proofing my Swype posts.. Young core, not hoping

  • In reply to TheCHISportsFan:

    One incentive that might be strong enough is if they make Heyward a defensive replacement and part time player. I don't know if this front office has the stones to do this, but it might well work.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    That's simply not how you treat people if you want to continue being thought of as a class organization. Heyward has been nothing but a class act. You treat him in kind.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Don’t buy the class act argument. Cubs have released or fired guys who have been nothing but class acts. It’s part of the business. If Jhey isn’t good enough offensively to play a ton then he deserves to be on the bench whether a nice guy or not.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I don't think it would be classless to tell Heyward: "we love having you on our team, and so we'll give you a choice: either help train Schwarber, Happ, and Almora defensively, while being a defensive replacement who starts 1 or 2 times a week; or help us facilitate a trade to a team that wants to play you full time".
    Just because he has a mega contract, doesn't mean we're obligated to play him, especially if we feel there are better options on our team.......

  • In reply to TC154:

    Class act or not he hasn't played well enough to be an everyday starter. Right now he's a part time player/defensive replacement. Just maybe if he realizes this, he might think that the grass is greener elsewhere.

  • If he could hit .270-.280 with 20 HRs and 75-90 RBI he would be well worth the contract.

    Unfortunately, guys who can field well, but can't hit are far more plentiful at a fraction of the cost.

    Just some really bad luck on the Cubs part with that contract.

  • On a totally unrelated note, did anyone see MLB rumors that John Lackey now wants to pitch again next year?

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    He does not want a haircut. He wants jewelry. He just might want to stay with the team and buddy Lester on a team friendly deal.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Lackey turns 40 next season - time to move on from the guy who gave up NL leading 36 home runs

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    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    A 1/$2-6M deal, likely closer to the low end of that, I could be tempted.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    He was 12-12 as a #5 starter. Do you want another Bret Anderson signing again? If Lackey will sign for 8-10 M the Cubs should jump at the chance. They have a 1-3. He'll give you 200 innings again and you're not paying 20 M for Cobb or one of the other rehab guys. Not sure you understand what the needs are.

  • In reply to veteran:

    I could see signing him to an incentive laden contract. Give him a $2M base with incentives up to $8-10M. He does it win/win, if he doesn't, then what was the harm?

  • In reply to veteran:

    How do you know he will give 200 innings? He turns 40 next year and his performance will continue to decline. There are a number of options much younger that can provide better performance.

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    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    You are correct that we can't pencil Lackey in for 200IP and that there are younger options...but those same options have question marks of their own OR will cost a goo deal more than Lackey and likely require longer term committments or BOTH.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    How many pitchers perform well at Lackeys age? Cubs have money to pay a younger guy that is not in the decline phase of their career. Also can sign a younger player to a multi year deal so you are not scrambling next year.

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    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Yes. But my premise, from the beginning, has been that it strongly depends on how much Lackey is willing to sign for. Lots of teams will be interested in someone like Cobb. He might even get a contract for 5/$100M and he is still recovering from arm surgery I believe. What if Lackey is willing to sign for 1/$3-5M. Where will we be a year from now? I don't know. Could one of Mills, Tseng, Montgomery, Butler et al turn into a serviceable #5 starter and not have us locked into a large contract with another pitcher? I am strongly unwilling to pay Lackey $10-20M and, for the same money, would rather give a chance to a younger guy. But if the sums/years are vastly different I am willing to roll the dice on Lackey on a short term deal.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I think Lackey who is already in decline will decline even faster in 2018. I don't think he will perform as well as you think he will. I see nothing wrong with signing a pitcher like Cobb and trading for a cost controlled starter. You have to trust the evaluation of the front office in signing a pitcher long term.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Maybe they will decide that Cobb is healthy. Maybe he won't sign for as much as I believe. But I have read lots of teams that are "interested" in him. He has a ton of talent. That can drive up his price to the point that it is no longer workable to sign him for the Cubs.

  • I don't really want Shark and Melancon. How about Madison B. instead in a one for one trade?

  • In reply to John57:

    I like Shark and he's earning that contract with a 3.61 FIP and 3.8 WAR in 2017. He's never had a year under 2.5 WAR which matches his AAV. So I'm good with him. He's a 4 that very often pitches like a 3. Melancon I wasn't sure about until I looked yesterday. He has 3 years $47 million left on his deal which is at least $13 million less than what Davis is going to get and his numbers are more comparable than you would think. He actually had a better FIP of 3.22 and a much better BB/9 of 1.80 compared to compared to Davis' 3.38 and 4.30. the issue with Melancon is health so it's not like you can 100% trust him as your closer. The issue I have with that deal is why would SF do that? I get that they're trying to dump salary to get in the Stanton derby but I don't understand that either. The bottom line is that in Heyward you have a guy in 2017 that was 12% under average run production and it was an improvement over 2016. He's a problem, as much as I actually like the guy, but one where I don't see a solution.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Well SF prob wants to do this for a multiple reasons, some you suggest like payroll flexibility and getting a chance at Stanton ( even though they both play the same position and both finished in top 3 of GG tally) but they also are getting "younger and more athletic " w the trade ( bulls fans I am sure have heard that nonsense spewed) plus they might might get the Cubs to throw in some B/C level prospects or some future cash.

    They probably also think they can fix Heyward. If Heyward is hitting the .270/.360/.430 w 20 homers, its close to a HR for them.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    If he slashes that with 13-15 HR having that defense in that park it would be a HR for them.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Correct. Pitchers park, brutal RF. J-Hey would have exceptional value as RFer in that ballpark. Average offensive numbers would make him a steal for the Giants. Think of their roster construction when they were successful. This makes sense.

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    In reply to JB55:

    I think Heyward said, during the 2016 NLDS, that it is the toughest RF in baseball.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I visit At&T fairly often. That RF is absolutely brutal. Heyward would be an incredible asset for the Giants in the field.

  • In reply to JB55:

    Except that SF has Underpants, so they need a CF, not a RF.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Alex Pavlovic ✔@PavlovicNBCS
    Giants people seem as baffled by Heyward/Cubs rumor as the rest of us. Zero chance of that deal. Welcome to the offseason.

  • Very good article. I fully agree that moving Heyward seems unlikely. I feel a more likely scenario is limited playing time in 18. Perhaps a platoon with Almora in CF but AA seeing his share of RHP as well, with Happ in right and Schwarber in left. Zobrist can play LF against lefties and 2B to spell Baez or when Baez spells Addy. Zobrist and Heyward as utility players just two full seasons after signing big deals is a bit disconcerting, but they won a WS and those guys have depth value. I just don't see either one of them starting 140 games. Maybe not even 110.

  • In reply to Sluggo1:

    I still think he is the primary right fielder in 2018.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Only if it's for a different ballclub.

  • In reply to Sluggo1:

    Agreed on both your points Sluggo. 1) Good article. 2) I think that moving Heyward is going to be difficult enough to make doing so unlikely.

    Playing time arrangements are going to be tricky though - unless the Cubs move one of Schwarber, Almora, Happ, Zobrist or Heyward. I trust Maddon to figure it out though once he knows what he's got to work with,... and the Winter chess game hasn't even started yet.

  • In reply to Sluggo1:

    The problem with your scenario is whatever value he has you lose when you move him to CF, especially as a part time player, and while you'd like more offense out of his position run production wasn't really in issue in 2017. If you did work some semblance of your suggestion though I'd rather it Bryant in RF with Happ at 2B and Baez at 3B. Happ and Zobrist in RF scares the dickens out of me.

  • In reply to Sluggo1:

    I agree, highly doubt he's going anywhere...

    While he didn't regain his all star hitting #s last year, he did improve over 2016. He'll probably get about the same playing time or more if he improves on last year.

  • In reply to Sluggo1:

    Amen!

  • Although it is possible the Giants trade Shark, I think it is unlikely. Instead, their approach seems to be to try and win in 2018 by relying on their current core and rotation, and adding a centerfielder, third baseman, and relief pitchers. They seem to want to get players via trade, but not spend a lot, and not be super aggressive. If it doesn’t work, then they’d consider trading Bum at the deadline. But adding a pricey player like Heyward seems unlikely. Now that I said that, watch them trade for Stanton and prove me a fool.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    The deal does make some sense for the Giants, considering they had the worst outfield defense in the NL. Of course, they also had the worst outfield offense in the NL.

  • The Cubs were quick on the replacements of all but the bench coach, any rumors? Waiting on a David Ross answer? I know he said "it would be hard to see" but that is not a definitive no.

    I think Lackey would be a good 8m one year deal if the Free Agent and Trade Market plans don't pan out. Can't argue with the mans passion.

  • In reply to Rock:

    I can agree w/this. Especially if they focus most resources on building a solid bullpen, having Lackey behind the 3 core guys isn't such a bad idea.

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    In reply to Rock:

    I am starting to think that most of the "firings" had to do with a guy they liked even more for the job. Similar to the "firing" of Rick Renteria had more to do with REALLY wanting Maddon than anything particularly "unsatisfactory" about Renteria.

    The Bench Coach position is different. Martinez left to get a job as a manager--a long term goal for him and considered by most to be likely for the last several years--so, sans a really good and obvious replacement I think the Cubs do a more traditional search. I would LOVE Ross to get the job but I think that is a very unlikely scenario. However, in 3-5 years...?

  • I think Heyward would waive his NTC if he is sent to a "respectable" place and knows he could play everyday. While SF was awful last year, the Giants had been a borderline dynasty prior to that and from all appearances have a good clubhouse cultural. Plus its SF, which is a great place to live.

    But the biggest reason he may accept a trade is that the FO may say, JHey you can waive your NTC and probably be an everyday player say in SF or you can stay here & be a platoon player. If he becomes a platoon player he would have virtually no shot at getting a new contract (his chances are already slim).

  • If I remember correctly, Heyward doesn’t have a full NTC for a couple of years in the middle of the deal. I believe in the ‘19 and ‘20 seasons he doesn’t have a full NTC.

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    I only see 2 ways he isn't in a Cubs uniform in 2019, but I don't think either are likely.
    1 - Major injury, which no one wants to have happen.
    2 - He opts out of the contract. Why would he opt out? because he wants playing time, and in 2018, he would be limited to about 150 PAs and a lot of late inning defensive replacement innings, but very few starts. It could be very difficult for a guy to think about being a 29 year old and being a backup for the rest of his career. He might say that $20 mil on the bench isn't worth it, if i can get less but play every day..

  • In reply to Eli Roth:

    "...in 2018, (Heyward) would be limited to about 150 PAs..."???

    No way. Even if he started out bad like 2016, barring long term injury, he's batting way more than that.

  • In reply to Eli Roth:

    He might see less playing time but 150 PA? That's not even in the realm of possible. 400 PA maybe. This team still scored a lot of runs in 2017 with Heyward in the lineup so it's not like you have to improve drastically on offense, plus he's your best option in RF. Does he play less in 2018, probably, but he's still a huge part of the team and with his contract you still have to hope that he returns to form and he sure won't do that with 150 PA.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Does anyone know if he kept his house in AZ and whether he plans to spend the winter there again (with his new hitting coach)? I'd like to think he was as frustrated with the popups, dribblers and flairs as we were.

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    In reply to WrigleyRay:

    I would be surprised if he wasn't MORE frustrated. Remember, he is a professional athlete, a competitor.

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    In reply to Eli Roth:

    I think 150 PAs is very low. If he is a "platoon" player it will be the "strong side" of the platoon (hitting against RHP). Depending on how Maddon believes Almora will fare against RHP, which I don't think anyone knows for sure right now, if Heyward is a platoon guy he will get closer to 300-400 PAs.

    I, for one, have not given up hope on Heyward. He did make significant improvements. And he is young enough that I don't think he is in the decline of his career. If he can bump up his OBP by 20 points and his SLG by about 30-40 points he becomes a much better offensive player.

    "And if pigs had wings they could fly," right? From 2010-2015 he was a solid offensive player (wRC+ of 118) with outstanding defense. The defense is still there. The baserunning is still there. The ability is still there. If he can get his offense up to closer to league average, and I think it is possible, even possible to become above average, he could still be an extremely valuable player.

  • Idk, the Cubs have been a pretty good team with Heyward. It's just that he is way over paid. Everything about him is good except his offense. They can shop him, but shouldn't give him away. Even as a platoon player he adds worth in a hard to measure intangible way.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I would also hate to see Heyward given away, like we did Alfonso Soriano . We ended up paying ALL of Soriano's remaining contract and only got back the mechanically challenged Corey Black. Supposedly, part of the "trade" logic was to make room for Junior Lake to play everyday but, in reality, the team tanked and got us into prime position to grab Kris Bryant and other top picks.

  • From July 5th on, the Cubs were 12-2 in the 14 games that John Lackey started. In only 2 0f those games, did he fail to get through or past the 5th inning (and one of this games was the StL ejection). He certainly gave our Cubs a chance to win and didn't exhaust the bullpen in the second half.

    I could see John as our fifth starter, assuming he accepts 5th starter money.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    True, and Maddon could use him in the bullpen again in the post season. Just kidding. The guy is going to be 40 next year. I think it is time to move on.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Okay, but give some examples of moving on. Who's out there who could give you 12-2 in the games he starts. He's a workhorse, a positive in the clubhouse, a buddy of Lester and a competitor. As a #5 he would be a bargain at $8-10M for a year. At 40 his arm is as good as it was at 39.

  • In reply to veteran:

    LOL I'd sign Fergie before Lackey! Sign Lackey You need a net over the bleachers to keep fans safe.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    He was pretty good for a #5 starter in the 2nd half. I think he would accept a very team friendly deal to pitch one more year with a team he likes being on.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Agreed with the consensus here. Lackey is still a useful MLB-level starting pitcher even at age nearly 40. He's a known quantity, with no known health worries (other than being nearly 40), and with a strong tie to the Cubs.

    If Lackey is interested in coming back for one more year, and if the price is appropriate, you have to consider going with him rather than some other FA. His second half of 2017 was pretty impressive. He's no ace at this point, but he's still probably better than most other teams' #4/#5 SP.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Agreed.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Lackey is a competitor and probably could still be useful, but he can at times be hard to take with a limited shelf life as well. My guess is that the Cubs have decided that they will be moving on.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    To me it all comes down to cash. If he wants $10-12M AAV I tell him to take a hike. If he wants $5M I sign him and try to milk 150-200 IP out of him.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    No argument Joel - He's probably not cost-effective (or at least a risk/reward guess-estimate would suggest) he's not cost effective at ~$10 MM/year or more. At $5-7 MM, he's definitely worth a go IMO.

    It does - indeed - all come down to what cash he would take, and whether the Cubs see a better value elsewhere.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    For the right price they could do , and have done, a lot worse then Lackey as a #5. His #'s would put him as one of the top 5's in the league. Also a one year contract would line up with hopefully some of the young pitching breaking thru for 2019.

  • remember... B Harper will be here in 2019

  • Alex Pavlovic tweeted just a bit about that Giants FO people said they have no idea where this Heyward trade rumor came from.

  • In reply to Jared Wyllys:

    Really? I thought Sabean and Theo called Phil Rogers and told him.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    I assumed that, if it's on twitter that Rogers must be the middle-man/arbitrator. Is that wrong? LOL

  • In reply to Jared Wyllys:

    Which is why I haven't commented or put much thought into it. Whole lotta nothing. Too many moving parts to make this work. This is part of the reason this is called the "silly season".

    The next two offseason's may be a different story. Heyward has a full no-trade clause this year, but only partial no-trade protection for the next two. I'm guessing that was a trade-off for his two opt-out years. We will revisit this then, when the Cubs may or may not want to eat some contract and deal him, probably depending on if they want to target a massive FA contract.

  • In reply to Jared Wyllys:

    It was Kaplan about a week ago. Just making stuff up. It was interesting to play around with it my head though.

  • In reply to Jared Wyllys:

    When I first heard this rumor, I wondered who started this nonsense and got Phil Rogers to help it fly. Theo Epstein wouldn't make this trade ever !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Wrong. Theo would have made it yesterday if it was offered.

  • Phil Rogers is a joke. He talks a lot but there is never anything to it.

  • Heyward seems to be a wonderful person and teammate. And he does everything well in baseball - except hit. After two seasons, I have given up on his ability to be even an average offense contributor.
    I hope the Cubs do explore opportunities to exchange bad contracts. The proposed deal with the Giants sounds too good to be true. That is probably why the rumor is quickly extinguished.
    Anybody have any other ideas for bad contract swaps. Maybe Heyward to the Tigers for J. Zimmerman?

  • How about Heyward and his 6 years/$147.5M to Boston for David Price and his 5 years/$157M?

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    In reply to hoopscubs:

    Not a bad idea. It would be a typical "bad contract swap." Not sure what Price's health is. If the Cubs are convinced I would be willing to pull the trigger but, short of that, I would be really hesitant. But I am more bullish--or maybe just less bearish--on Heyward than many.

  • In reply to hoopscubs:

    Boston needs power bats like Stanton or JD Martinez. Heyward would hold no interest to them.

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    In reply to TC154:

    If it is a "bad contract swap" then "needs" aren't relevant.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Correct but you'd have to have a place to play them. Boston would not. Both guys are more valuable to their own club right now especially if they turn it around. Frankly I'd bet on Heyward more than Price. I'm still mystified how a guy who had been so consistent just lost it in his age 27 season.

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    In reply to TC154:

    Maybe I am lying to myself but that is what I am very much hoping for with Heyward. He did improve this year. Another similar improvement brings his wRC+ close to 100. Still not good for the contract he signed but at least it isn't a black-hole like his 2016.

    Another reason I am hesitant to trade him is that he seems to be a leader on the team. The entire team pointed to his "meeting" in Game 7 that all of them claim galvanized them. I still think part of what the team was missing this year was the leadership that Ross provided. And I am not talking about what he did on the field.

  • In reply to TC154:

    The Red Sox do need power. And I think the Cubs could use a lead off hitter. That's why I think a Schwarber for Benintendi trade isn't completely out of the question. Unlikely, but it wouldn't completely shock me. Both GMs aren't afraid to deal.

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    In reply to Cubswin09:

    It could also be a "deep-fry" thing where the deal would headline with Schwarber and a "bad-contract" swap also evens some things out instead of "various minor leaguers."

    Though if the headline read: "Cubs send struggling Schwarber and Heyward to Red Sox for Benintendi and Price" the average Red Sox fan may well blow a gasket.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I'd love that trade, but it sounds like JBJ is the odd man out there if they trade anybody. Speed for power and JBJ just so happens to have been drafted by Theo.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Bosox also have a pretty good RFer named Mookie Betts. They arent moving him for JHey.

  • In reply to hoopscubs:

    That's an interesting proposal. I am not sure how "bad" the Red Sox view the Price contract. Red Sox could reasonably be hoping for Price to bounce back. Plus, Boston already has decent defensive outfield. I'm not sure they could take advantage of Heyward's best quality.

  • Next year at this time people will be wondering why they ever considered trading Heyward. He has the athleticism, the power and the attitude. He had a great season with the Cardinals. I look at his retooled stance and swing now and he looks good. Chili Davis is going to come in and get him to relax and bring his confidence back. He wants it TOO much...he has to relax. I didn't like Chili much as a player, but think he was a great hire..watch and see.

  • In reply to refugee:

    You must be watching a different Heyward then most.

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    In reply to willycat:

    I think it is more likely he wants to base his analysis on 3000+ PAs rather than around 1000. Don't let "recentism" affect you too much.

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    I like your attitude.

  • Swapping Heyward for equally bad contract on the pitcher's side make very little sense.

    You know what you have with Heyward: a Gold Glove right fielder and very hard-working teammate who could still improve.

    With Shark (or whichever pitcher) you get an inconsistent, overpaid guy #5 starter at best. At worst you get a really expensive reliever with a high percentage of blowing games. Edwin Jackson anyone?

    I'd just much rather have the Gold Glover with a light bat that you put in 7 hole than a pitcher you just never trust to take the mound. The worst part of Heyward's contract is the length...

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Except the Cubs need pitching not a weak hitting outfielder.

  • In reply to willycat:

    Except the Cubs need a gg rf with a light bat not an incon o/p #5.

  • Here's another idea (bad contract for bad contract theme): Jason Heyward (6 years and $147.5M), Javier Baez and cash considerations to Seattle for Mike Leake (3 years and $38M - that's how much Seattle owes with STL paying the rest) and Jean Segura (5 years and $67M).

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    In reply to hoopscubs:

    Absolutely not.

  • In reply to Glen Krisch:

    Agreed ! Terrible idea !

  • How is Jean Segura and Mike Leake bad contracts? Mike Leake is a pretty good pitcher a 4 or 5 and Jean Segura is a .300 hitting middle infielder.

  • Heyward opting out is not even an option. He would be giving up about $100 million. Only a fool would consider it and since both his parents graduated from Dartmouth, pretty sure they didn't raise no fool. Arizona Phil says the Cubs can trade him after the 2018 season until the last game of the 2020 season, at which time his 5/10 rights kick in, making him no-trade for the remainder of the contract. During the trade period he gets to pick 12 teams he can block.

    I accept that he's going to be here awhile, I would just like to see him platooned against lefties. Not so he'll get mad and leave, but so I won't get mad and throw things at my TV. Zobrist was even worse against LHP than Heyward, and Happ also hits better from the left side. I mentioned Zagunis the other day, who crushes lefties in the minors, or maybe a guy like Jayson Werth on a one year deal. Werth was off to a good start this year before breaking his foot. Was awful after he came back, but still hit lefties pretty good. Over 1.000 OPS against LHP in 2016. But he's 39. Schwarbs could use a little time off against lefties as well. I think we could use a proven right handed bat in the OF. Albert will be busy in center, and I don't think Jay will be back.

  • An earlier post mentioned that the Giants FO doesn't know where the rumor came from but I live in the Bay area and the morning sports talk channels were discussing it. I got the feeling most of the local sports folks thought it would be a good exchange...

  • I know JHey's contract is too steep, but it's inked. I love the idea of a near automatic out on balls hit to right. I love the fact that teams will seldom run on his arm. He has a good eye at the plate and is left handed. He just needs a tweak to get back to .275 with a .360 OBP. The guy had a .393 when he was 20 years old. He can improve easily with a little coaching. I've seen strong arguments as to how Shark pitches a lot better than his numbers show--but I dunno...i have pictures of gas cans and 5 alarm fires dancing in my head.

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    In reply to refugee:

    Maybe he'll have a great year and opt out. We can only wish. It's a win/win situation

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    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    It is also possible that he has a great year, leads the team to the playoffs and does NOT opt-out and we may rejoice. He seems to really enjoy being a Chicago Cub. Not saying he will, not saying he won't. Just pointing out that the opposite might happen and it be a win-win as well.

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    In reply to refugee:

    I am inclined to agree with you and do believe that Heyward is capable of turning it around. However, "He can improve easily with a little coaching," seems a little naive. I assure you the Cubs have done more than "a little coaching" with him and when someone struggles that mightily the correction isn't "easy" or it wouldn't have been a problem for more than a couple weeks. It is possible that maybe Davis will do the trick and return Heyward to his former strengths. But it is possible he won't. It is possible that if we trade him another team will have a coach able to do something that will help him and he suddenly becomes a .290/.410/.480 hitter with stellar defense.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Here's what Tom Verducci of SI wrote in the spring of 2016 about JHey's swing

    "Going back to 2010, his rookie year, Heyward has changed his setup at the plate every year. From a neutral stance with the hands high and the bat flat (2010), to an open stance ('11), to a slightly open stance with bent knees and pumping hands ('12), to a neutral stance with his hands lower ('13), to a closed stance with his hands away from his body and the bat upright ('14), to a slightly open stance with his arms tight to his body and the end to his odd habit of re-gripping his bat as the pitcher winds up ('15)."

    Since then, Mallee added a toe-tap in '16 and lowered his hands in '17 before being fired. Like you, Joel, I consider myself one of the optimists on Cubs Den. At this point, if Chili Davis can just get Heyward back to what he was in St. Louis, he would be a great player. Okay, Chili...your turn.

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    In reply to NoDoubtAboutIt:

    I wouldn't cry if he returned to "what he was in St. Louis." A .293/.359/.439/.797 with an OPS+ of 117, wRC+ of 121 and a fWAR of 6.1. I'd settle for that.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    If he had a fWAR of 6.1 he would be vastly underpaid.

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    In reply to John57:

    Yes. And that is why I would settle for it. Wouldn't you?

    I was actually commenting about how I would be fine if "Davis can just get Heyward back to what he was in STL. So I copied his numbers from STL and said, "I would agree if he would agree."

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Yeah-- i knew that sounded weak when i wrote it--they don't pay out tens of millions and then watch someone flounder without saying a word..but i don't think big changes are needed..he's the epitome of what Yogi said "half this game is 90% mental"

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    In reply to refugee:

    That's why they brought Davis in as hitting coach. He's better @ teaching the mental part. Unlike Mallee who was more mechanically training them. I think it was a good move.

  • Brandon Hyde promoted to Bench Coach. Mets offered him the same job on their staff. Cubs stepped up to keep him.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Good to hear, now I hope they promote one of their MiLB coaches for 1st base coach.

  • I've heard Dascenzo floated, just as speculation, not rumor. That would be fun though.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Now if only they could acquire Jeff Samardzija they could have a killer "Scrabble" team:
    Rizzo, Zastryzny, Dascenzo, Samardzija.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Nice!

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    What does a first base coach do, except for reminding players about the abilities of the outfielders?

    If Dascenzo is a good coach, is he more valuable in the minors rather than 1b coach? Seems similar to the "when is the closer most valuable question" - up by 1 in the 7th vs the 1-2-3 or in the 9th vs 7-8-9?

    I wonder how much minor league coach shuffling there might be.

  • In reply to 2Toes:

    The base coaches help in my aspects beyond standing in the coach's boxes during games.

    For instance Butterfield is considered one of the best infield coaches in the league.

    Dascenzo is currently one of the baserunning instructors in the minor league system and is also an outfield coach.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I am sure that they do, but I am unaware of what roles that they fulfill.

    For example, I am sure that the bullpen coach is very valuable, but what duties do they fulfill? I bet that Strode went over hitter heat maps with pitchers, but I am not sure what else? I am not doubting, just asking for clarification.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    How about Tony Campagna...? :o) ;o)

  • A san francisco reporter shut down the rumors he said "No chance" giants trade for heyward.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Jed Hoyer was on the radio this morning and dismissed it as well. He even mentioned that it probably just started as speculation, people began discussing it, and so it became "news".

    On another radio show today, he said this could be the most active offseason since this regime took over in 2011. Buckle up!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    But Hoyer used the word "could" so it also might not be the most active offseason. :-)

  • Id take the Giants trade of Shark/Melancon for JHey, providing Melancon is healthy. Hes a really good closer when healthy, and his contracy right now is about what wed pay Davis anyway. JHey would be excellent in RF for the Giants(remember in 2016, he ran down a fly ball in "triples alley" that Bochy said after the game hed never seen anyone do that before). The $ are actually fairly close enough to make it work, and Shark wouldnt mind having this defense behind him, , the Giantys lack of D hurt both him and Cueto last year.

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