Is Jason Heyward Killing Manny Machado's Market? And Other Bullets

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Is Jason Heyward Killing Manny Machado’s Market? And Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Poor Littlest Girl. I went to sit in her rocking chair to rock her to sleep last night and I missed. Like, my butt missed the chair. We crashed to the ground, and she bonked her head and got a little cut. My oafishness has done harm. I am a monster. At least she was cheery as could be within a few minutes.

  • Is Jason Heyward the reason Manny Machado isn’t getting a $300 million deal? Seems a little crazy at first blush, but that’s more or less the premise of Craig Edwards’ latest at FanGraphs. As Edwards points out, the two players are remarkably similar in age and career production at the moment they reached free agency:

  • You could even argue that, especially as a playable-but-perhaps-not-great shortstop stacked against a then-elite right fielder, the two were defensively similar in value, too, with Machado the slightly better hitter and Heyward the better baserunner. Heyward, of course, signed an eight-year, $184 million deal with the Cubs before the 2016 season at age 26.
  • HOWEVER, as Edwards digs in further – it’s a great read – you will see that the player comparisons fall apart when you get beyond the superficial. Players like Machado have tended to be better over the next decade than players like Heyward when he was a free agent, and it turns out that Heyward is just one useful comp for Machado among a sea of Hall of Famers. Heyward’s contract and performance, specifically, should have no bearing on what Machadoo gets.
  • A hard reality is that the Heyward contract was a whiff. You can say it looked like a good, smart safe-for-a-giant-contract deal at the time (and I would say those things), and you could point out that an ill-timed wrist injury right out of the gate may have set in motion a horrible cascade of struggles (and I might say those things). But you cannot argue that Heyward has produced at a level that would have justified his contract, especially here in the first few years when you’re theoretically supposed to get the most value from a free agent. Maybe he pulls off a resurgence and salvages some of the value of the deal, but there’s zero chance the Cubs go back in time and sign the exact same contract at the exact same time if they knew then what they know now. (Well, unless they truly believe 2016 cannot possibly have happened without Heyward on the team (rain delay speech, etc.). Then Heyward was worth every penny.)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • This is going to play out again and again in the early part of Spring Training, and then again when Addison Russell returns from suspension, so prepare yourself for Cubs players to speak imperfectly on this topic:

  • Gotta love seeing this a month before pitchers and catchers are due to report. This is a man on a mission:

  • A big, deserved, annual congrats to Cubs radio man Pat Hughes:

  • A deeper dive on the state of the Cubs’ farm system from BA:

  • The Cubs may have some holes, but it could be a lot worse. The Rangers’ ZiPS just came out, and they project to have one (1) hitter with an above-average wRC+ and zero (0) starting pitchers with a better-than-average ERA. That seems not great.
  • Of note: Jesse Chavez projects to be 16% better than average (sigh), and Drew Smyly projects to be right around an average pitcher.
  • Ooh, cast iron cookware is among the deals of the day at Amazon today, and that always gets me excited for completely lame reasons.

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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.