REPORTS: Jason Heyward Chooses Chicago Cubs (UPDATES on Contract)

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REPORTS: Jason Heyward Chooses Chicago Cubs (UPDATES on Contract)

Chicago Cubs

The news had been trending this way over the past hour, and Gordon Wittenmyer is the first to say it:

With Jon Heyman confirming:

We’ll be updating with details and more as it becomes available.

For now, today’s earlier discussion of Heyward lives here, and some of the related outfield implications can be found here. The big thing to watch for is whether the Cubs now turn to trying to move Jorge Soler for pitching. With Heyward able to play center field, there’s a fit even without moving Soler – and, indeed, the Cubs’ rotation really isn’t looking all that bad right now as is – but I think you’re going to see chatter.

Heyward was for many – me included – the biggest of big targets this offseason, and is a perfect fit for this Cubs team. You throw in the fact that the Cubs have already picked up Ben Zobrist, John Lackey, and Adam Warren this offseason, adding them to a team that won 97 games in 2015 … and this is a very good team.

For now: DANCE!

A couple updates – the early take on the contract is that it might be a freaking steal, in my opinion:

That’s an incredible get, especially when there’s word of a $200+ million offer elsewhere. I’m going to reserve judgment until we get the full breakdown of the contract and all its terms, but I’m thinking this is going to be a good one. That said, with the likelihood of an opt-out, and probably no-trade rights, the structure will say a lot about how attractive the contract is. For example, if the deal were eight years and $185 million, but $100 million were coming in the first three years and then there’s an opt-out, the deal looks a lot less sexy. That’s merely an extreme, illustrative example, but you catch my meaning.

Another thing to check out is an early look at the ZiPS projections for Heyward over the next several years. He’s good.

UPDATE on the contract: The low $23 AAV is nice …

But it also comes with two opt-outs:

There’s a good bet that the first opt-out comes after year three, and the second one perhaps a few years after that. It’s almost like Heyward has a three-year contract with a couple player options on the end, but the player options are each for multiple years. If the contract is heavily front-loaded, it’s a much less attractive contract.

HOWEVER, you do what you have to do to get the player signed, and it’s not like anyone’s going to be complaining about getting Heyward’s age 26, 27, and 28 seasons.

Remember when discussing the contract, then: Heyward plays out the full contract only if TWICE he determines that he cannot make more in free agency. That will happen only if things are not going too well for Heyward the Cub.

So, I’m thinking today as though the Cubs just signed Heyward to a pricey three-year deal, with considerable risk that, if he completely breaks down, they’re on the hook for much more. Hopefully there’s some serious insurance involved.

None of that is to say I’m unhappy. This is still a very, very good day.

UPDATE 2: The opt outs are after years 3 and 4, and they appear to have conditions attached:

That’s interesting, though I’d point out that, if he doesn’t exceed whatever those plate appearance numbers are, it’s because he’s been injured, and he might not want to opt out anyway.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.