Heyward Already Working with His New Team, Braves Jealousy, the Shortstop Class, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Heyward Already Working with His New Team, Braves Jealousy, the Shortstop Class, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

All right. Fingers crossed that today’s flight actually takes off and I can get home.

In the meantime, Cubs Bullets …

  • Jason Heyward has already started working with Dodgers hitting coaches this week at Dodger Stadium (L.A. Times). Heyward says the Dodgers targeted him early in the offseason, and he told the Times that he was looking to land in a place that would give him the best chance at helping him remain a useful big leaguer:

“They have a reputation for doing things in a special way, getting the most out of everyone involved,” Heyward said by phone this week in his first interview since signing with the team. “For them to reach out to me, and want me to have an opportunity to be part of that process, that made it that much easier …. I want to be the best version of myself. And the Dodgers, I feel like, give me a really, really great opportunity to do that.”

  • I hope the Dodgers can help that happen. We know by now that opportunity wasn’t going to come again with the Cubs in 2023 (for which the Cubs are on the hook for the last $22 million of his deal), and we also know that whatever the player and the organization were doing together the last two years just wasn’t working. So maybe the Dodgers can make it happen for him, even if only in a bench/veteran leader role.
  • Heyward is on a minor league deal, but note that if he does make the Dodgers, they will have to pay him the Major League minimum ($700,000), and the Cubs would therefore save that amount. So, you know, if you’re looking to have the Cubs squeeze every last dollar, there’s another reason to root for Heyward to make the Dodgers.
  • After extending Sean Murphy last night (they HAD to have known he was into an extension before they even acquired him from the A’s), the Braves’ long-term control now looks like this:
  • Absolutely bonkers, and – let’s be honest – impressive and desirable. Yeah, sure, some of those deals could look ugly by the end, but they all looked pretty outstanding for the Braves the day they were signed, they roll off the books in a staggered fashion, and they lock in low AAVs for years to come (which further reduces the risk). The Braves will have a SERIOUS core in place for MANY years now, around which they can pick and choose additions. I know best laid plans don’t always work out (look at those many White Sox extensions), but this looks incredible on paper.
  • Note that it’s basically all predicated on internal success with drafting, international signing, and developing. That’s how the Braves got their young studs up in the first place (and then extended them) or traded for other players in the first place (and then extended them).
  • Remember the Red Sox’s extremely weird trade deadline, where they sold off some pieces, acquired some pieces, and held on to some others? It was the ultimate show of trying to thread a needle (if described generously; if you were less generous, you would say they simply did not pick a lane). The decisions not only wound up costing them theoretical trade returns, but also directly cost them in the draft:
  • Michael is being a little cheeky in this tweet, obviously …
  • … but I do find myself sometimes thinking about how wild it would be if Dansby Swanson actually wound up posting the highest WAR over the next few years among the four shortstops, or the best offensive slash line in even one of the years of their respective deals. You wouldn’t bet on it. You’d be crazy to bet on it. But it’s not like it’s impossible, and if it did happen – some performance outcome where you could argue that, at any particular given moment, Swanson is performing the best of the four – it would be hilarious. (And, yes, included in that hilarity would be me laughing at myself, as Swanson was not my first choice among the four.)
  • Speaking of which: the ongoing Carlos Correa leg issue stuff has me wondering where he would’ve ranked on our personal top shortstop lists *IF* we had known about it going into free agency. That there were (apparently?) serious long-term risks there, not just with missing time, but with his ability to stay athletic and laterally mobile and what-have-you. I tend to think it would’ve really put a serious dent in his case atop the class, because one of the biggest factors he had going was his age (28, the youngest among the four). But if there are already degenerative-type injury concerns, then the age kinda accelerates a bit.
  • It won’t happen, but boy, landing Correa on a five to seven-year deal sure still sounds sweet.
  • This is definitely a fun look back at a certain era of baseball, and think what you will of the PED stuff (all opinions are welcome), but I believe this is definitely entertaining as heck:

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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.