Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

jason heyward cardinalsThe Chicago Cubs are staying in “close” contact with Jason Heyward’s agents, per Jon Morosi, who says those agents are departing Nashville tonight. The Cubs reportedly are in on Heyward even after adding Ben Zobrist, the financial plausibility of which I discussed this morning.

The outfield market still has yet to develop, both on the free agent side and the trade side, so it’s possible that nothing is done on this front – be it with Heyward or anyone else – for a little while yet.

There’s obviously all kinds of speculation about what kind of contract Heyward will ultimately get, but as Jennifer Langosch reports, the Cardinals haven’t been informed what it’ll take to get a deal done, as Heyward’s camp is still assessing the market.

You can understand why, given that prices at the top of the pitching market, at least, have gone through the roof. Meanwhile, the only big-time positional player to sign has been Ben Zobrist, and he got basically what folks were expecting he’d get. In other words, perhaps there’s been an adjustment in the pitching market – at least at the top – but not in the positional market? I highly doubt that would be the case, but if I’m Heyward, I, too, would want a little time for things to clarify.

How much should Heyward’s camp be seeking? Well, if Chris Davis is out there getting seven-year, $150 million offers – and that’s still not enough to get a deal done – then why shouldn’t Heyward start his ask at something like 10 years and $250 million, with an opt-out after four years? That doesn’t mean he’ll get that, or even that he should get it, but, given everything we’ve seen so far and given his unique position as such a young (26), impactful free agent, I don’t see why he shouldn’t see if someone will bite.

Let’s not forget: four years ago, Prince Fielder was 27 and signed for nine years and $214 million. He had a better bat at the time than Heyward does now, but he was a sure-fire first baseman or DH worth less annually by WAR than Heyward.

Of course, the flip side of that is that Fielder’s contract – like most other crazy long deals after the first few years – looks like a dog at this point.

In the end, we continue to wait a little more clarity on Heyward’s market. There’s a significant range of final deals that would not surprise me, at anything from seven years and $20 million annually (on the extreme low end) to ten years and $26 million annually (on the extreme high end). The Cubs will have to draw the line somewhere.

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