Chicago Cubs: 3 Jason Heyward trades that might work

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs / Jackie Bradley Jr.
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Trade Jason Heyward to the Milwaukee Brewers for Jackie Bradley, Jr.

The Milwaukee Brewers made a big splash when they signed Jackie Bradley, Jr. away from the Boston Red Sox during spring training this year. He’s never been an elite hitter, but he’s been a solid defender who can contribute on offense. The Brewers have had a great season, as they are NL Central Champions, but the Bradley signing has been a disaster for them to this point.

Bradley, 31, has posted a 1.4 defensive WAR this year, again doing fine work, but his offensive WAR is a miserable -1.8. In 130 games, he’s batting .162 with an atrocious 34 OPS+. Again, though he’s never been an elite hitter, it’s a stunning drop in production for Bradley, whose OPS+ was 118 in 2020.

Bradley could opt out of his deal after this season, but we’ll assume he won’t since he’s due to make $9.5 million. His contract also includes a mutual $12 million option for 2023, along with an $8 million buyout. If that happens, the Cubs would owe Bradley at least $17.5 million, far less than the $44 million the Brewers would owe Heyward. The Cubs would likely have to throw in either some money or a prospect.

You may be wondering why the Brewers would want Heyward or the Cubs would want Bradley, but a deal like this would be an old-fashioned swap of bad contracts between division rivals. As far as the latter is concerned, Bradley would give the Cubs a veteran outfielder who does have a track record and some potential upside from his 2021 performance in 2022. Heyward, meanwhile, would provide a solid veteran presence with winning experience to an already good ballclub, even if he’s not much more than a bench player at this point.