Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

wrigley outfield warning trackWhatever happens with the Chicago Cubs and Jason Heyward (and that stuff is ongoing as we speak), there are other conversations to be had about the Cubs’ outfield. If the Cubs miss out, then, of course, they’ll need to acquire at least a center fielder. And even if the Cubs do land Heyward, the rumors about the team looking to move Jorge Soler aren’t going to stop.

Taking a look at some of the non-Heyward outfield bits in the Cubs’ world …

  • Bruce Levine, whom I would point out was one of the few folks who had the Cubs in on Ben Zobrist throughout the offseason, believes that the Cubs’ “original plan” for the offseason was to go after Alex Gordon, and that could be the primary backup plan if the Cubs don’t land Jason Heyward. Things get complicated from there, though, because getting Gordon would necessitate not only the trade of Soler, but also acquiring a center fielder. That’s a whole lot of movement. Denard Span is the name Levine mentions.

  • Patrick Mooney writes more on Span here, together with other possibilities the Cubs might consider/have considered for center field, including a reunion with Dexter Fowler, a trade for Jackie Bradley, Jr., or a trade for Carlos Gomez (which was a recent rumor out of Houston). In short, the Cubs have and will consider everything, because why wouldn’t they?

  • Mark Gonzales looks at some possible miss-out-on-Heyward options here, and Gordon, Gomez, and Span are all mentioned.
  • Patrick Mooney¬†and Jesse Rogers suggest that a Heyward signing could be synced up with a Jorge Soler trade, a la Zobrist/Castro. If the Cubs don’t want Heyward in center field and don’t want to lose any leverage in Soler trade talks, I suppose I could see a syncing, but it’s not as if the money would require it (Soler is set to make just $3.67 million in 2016). And with pitching potentially set, it’s not as if the Cubs *have* to go out and sign another starting pitcher, and, thus, by trading Soler for pitching, they open up cash that way for Heyward. In other words, if there’s a syncing, it’s positional and not financial.
  • Rockies outfielders pop up from time to time in pieces (for example, Carlos Gonzalez is mentioned here), and, while I could see an argument for trying to snag Charlie Blackmon for center field, I have a much harder time seeing the Cubs acquiring Gonzalez for right field.
  • Hey, I was right that Cubs should check in on Ender Inciarte … and that the Braves wouldn’t deal him:

  • If a clearly interesting guy like Inciarte can’t be had, then my preference is that the Cubs just put Heyward in center field if they get him. Do that for a year or two, see if Soler can improve in right field (or if his bat explodes so much that you can’t help but live with the defense). Otherwise, if the Cubs are set on moving Soler, then I suppose my preference is to see the team go with Heyward (or Gordon) in right, and get a plus-plus defender in center field.

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