In the past couple of days, the Cubs have unexpectedly risen from their early Winter’s hibernation, and that might present an option to… consider.
When the Dodgers made their deal on Friday to send Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and Yasiel Puig to Cincinnati, we noted that this might start opening up some avenues for player movement – including the possibility of new options for the Atlanta Braves. What I didn’t expect was this:
Jon Greenberg is the founding Editor of TheAthletic, so I can’t dismiss his opinions entirely… though perhaps I should in this case: I do think he’s… a bit off here.
The Dodgers cleared (or at least rearranged) some payroll by (in part) jettisoning 2 outfielders, but the move wasn’t designed to go get another outfielder worse than the ones they already had.
Besides, they are looking for a right-handed power bat… something we also discussed. Heyward hits lefty and therefore is of no use to LA whatsoever.
Of course, Bryce Harper also hits from that side, and while he’s in another category all together, this LA-Chicago connection seems specious at best.
[okay – this was apparently tongue-in-cheek…but let’s get to the real point here.]
But it is this Cubs angle that’s curious here. They have made just a couple of moves this off-season (not counting their coaching staff), and that’s due strictly to payroll considerations.
The only addition they have made of any significance, in fact, was picking up Cole Hamels‘ $20 million option.
A glance at their COTS page explains why:
- Jon Lester $27.5 million
- Cole Hamels $20 million
- Jason Heyward $20 million
- Yu Darvish $20 million
- Kris Bryant (arbitration estimate of) $12.4 million
- Ben Zobrist $12.5 million
- Tyler Chatwood $12.5 million
- Anthony Rizzo (only!) $11.3 million
- Jose Quintana $10.5 million
That’s a pile of players all getting $10 million and above… and there are some deadwood-ish pieces among them, notably Heyward and Darvish.
But let’s look specifically at old friend Jason Heyward for a bit here. The biggest problem the Cubs have with him is that he’s not the superstar he was expected to be for $20+ million annually.
His contract still requires a payout to him of $106 million more over the next 5 years. Over the 1st 3 years of that pact, the Cubs have seen a payoff of exactly 4.0 fWAR.
But what if another team – not the Dodgers – might be convinced to take that contract from them? … (I know – you can see where this is going, but stick with me for a bit here… there’s reasons).