Chicago Cubs: Heyward is the answer in center field for now
The Chicago Cubs signing of Jason Heyward was a sign the team is poised to be a contender–if not a favorite–for the World Series next season.
But many wondered why the Cubs would spend big on a right fielder when their need was in center. Jorge Soler has solid potential in right but has had his issues playing a full season. The good news is he’s under team control through 2020 after signing a nine-year deal for $30 million. But the Cubs may also try to use that control as leverage in any deals they try to make, be it for a centerfielder or another pitcher.
While Heyward isn’t an everyday guy in center, he’s a three-time Gold Glove winner in right, and he’s only 26-years old. There are some that believe Heyward won’t be near as effective in centerfield. I don’t know what they consider “near”, but I would think a Gold Glove in right should translate to something improved over what Dexter Fowler provided.
One of the biggest questions remains if the Cubs will make another move to solidify the lineup. Money is getting tight for the rest of this offseason, so a trade is likely to acquire another pitcher–but that’s something that they will have to let the market dictate. They could go out and sign a free agent centerfielder–if they can find one that would agree to a short-term deal. That’s much of why the players still available are, they want more than a one-year deal.
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Dexter Fowler is still available, and he made it clear he enjoyed his time with the Cubs. Seeing what the team is doing, would he be willing to take a discount to come back? It’s unlikely, but the Cubs and the front office have the perfect storm of positivity going to sway players to Chicago.
For now, the Cubs are slotting Heyward in center field, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it isn’t even Christmas yet, so I wouldn’t expect to believe the Cubs are done yet this winter. But as far as blockbuster moves? The Cubs are likely going to have to move good players to get good players at this point.