With center field unsettled for the Chicago Cubs heading into 2016, with possible money to spend, and with a possible top young outfielder (among others) reaching free agency at the end of the year, these kinds of connections were inevitable:
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) October 19, 2015
Because the Cubs are still presently engaged in the 2015 season, I don’t want to go too far down this road. Heck, even when the 2015 season is officially over, I might not go too far down this road without a whole lot more, as Heyward is a potential $200 million player, and I have a hard time seeing the Cubs committing that much on the offensive side in the near-term.
As it stands, Heyward will hit free agency at just 26 years old, a fact that will have as much to do with his huge payout as his production over the last few years – there’s probably still some offensive upside there, and whichever team signs him will be getting some prime years. That said, Heyward’s bat has been only a bit above average for his career (118 wRC+), and he derives a great deal of his theoretical value from elite defense – typically in right field. How well would that translate to center field? How much untapped upside is there in the bat?
These are questions for another day. We’ll see if the Cubs are seriously connected to Heyward once free agency rolls around, and, regardless, his path is going to be one to follow. Be that if he ends up re-signing with the Cardinals, or moves out of the NL Central entirely.