Rebound candidate. Relatively young. A once-hyped top prospect. Left-hander Andrew Heaney checked a lot of boxes as a potential Chicago Cubs free agent target this winter. None of that matters now, though, with the 30-year-old inking a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Dodgers.
Heaney split the 2021 campaign between the Angels and Yankees, the latter of whom swung a midseason trade for him in hopes of shoring up the starting staff. Instead, they got a disastrous stint from the former first-rounder out of Oklahoma State. He made five starts and seven relief appearances, working to a 7.32 ERA, 6.93 FIP and 3.3 HR/9 in New York.
Still, given his relative age, it’s not surprising to see a team with the financial might of Los Angeles take a flier on him. Of course, this is a big winter for the Dodgers, as well, given both the number and standing of their free agents – headlined by shortstop Corey Seager. This is the first of what will be many moves made by Andrew Friedman this offseason.
Of course, the Cubs made their first move late last week, surprising a lot of folks and picking up Wade Miley off waivers. Shortly thereafter, they exercised his $10 million team option for 2022, giving them a quality veteran southpaw in the rotation mix.
That means, at least right now, you’re talking Miley, Kyle Hendricks and (probably) Alec Mills in the starting five heading into 2022. But I think guys like Heaney and Miley are the ones to keep your eye on – at least far more than a Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer – both of whom are in their late 30s and don’t exactly make sense for a team we don’t yet know will compete in 2022.
Chicago Cubs will center their offseason around reshaping the starting rotation
We know the story when it comes to the Cubs’ starting pitching this season. It was bad. Really bad. But by infusing some veteran arms into the mix, you can hope that some of the up-and-comers like Justin Steele and Adbert Alzolay get their feet under them a bit more next season.
Los Angeles is still going to be in the thick of things in the NL West; but, like I said, could look very different. The Dodgers decided not to extend a qualifying offer to franchise icon Clayton Kershaw – and the list of guys headed to free agency is extensive: Seager, Kershaw, Chris Taylor, Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen, to name a few. Only Seager and Taylor are tied to draft pick compensation via their respective qualifying offers.
It’ll be intriguing to see if the Cubs kick the tires on guys tied to draft compensation. Unless it’s an absolutely perfect fit, I’d guess not given Jed Hoyer’s focus on restocking the farm system. But these reclamation projects like Heaney will definitely be in the cards – you can count on that.