We've now had the first report about what might be the contract terms for new Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward:
Heyward deal less than $185m. Believed to be eight years.— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) December 11, 2015
We obviously don't know yet whether there might be an opt-out (say, four years in?) to that deal, or whether there's a signing bonus, or whether that deal might be backloaded so that when (presumably) the Cubs would have more money from their post-2020 TV deal. But at that price, which is an AAV of $23.125 million... that's a real bargain in the current market. That's a lower AAV than Jon Lester's contract, for example (six years, $155 million, AAV of $25.83 million).
There had been reports that Theo & Co. were trying to get extra dollars from the business side. Here's confirmation of that:
Cubs confirmed they had generous extra money from the business side to use in recent pursuits.— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 11, 2015
The Cubs are also reportedly going after another starting pitcher, and could wind up making more trades, though I suspect their free-agent pursuit is done (with the exception that they could sign some minor-league deals for roster depth).
I wasn't in favor of the Heyward signing in part because I thought it would cost too much money. If this report is true, Theo & Co. have acquired an excellent player at a somewhat-below-market price. Well done. I just hope he can hold down center field well on a regular basis, something he hasn't done in the past.
At age 26, that's certainly possible. Heyward is one day younger than Anthony Rizzo, and those two will be among the oldest players in the 2016 Cubs starting lineup.
Heyward is reportedly fond of No. 22, which he has worn his entire career, but Addison Russell, who currently has that number, won't mind changing:
Welcome to the Cubs, Jason Heyward. This lineup will be possibly the best in the National League in 2016. The Cubs and Cardinals will have their first 2016 meetings April 18-20 in St. Louis. Should be interesting, especially if John Lackey winds up starting one of those games.