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Friday morning, a reasonable person could have declared the Cubs as the World Series favorites and they wouldn’t have been ridiculed. Now, they’re almost certainly the unanimous favorites. Chicago signed Jason Heyward, likely the best position player available through free agency, to an eight-year, $184 million deal. It’s obviously a ton of money, but the final numbers are actually cheaper than many expected. Reportedly, he took less money to join the Cubs. While the allure of playing for the first Cubs championship team since 1908 is likely a selling point, he also benefited from not one, but two opt-out clauses in his contract.
The Cubs now find themselves with one of the most fearsome lineups in the sport, and it’s filled with remarkably young talent. Heyward fits perfectly in a lineup with Addison Russell and Ben Zobrist hitting around him, with Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber hitting behind him. There really isn’t a hole in this lineup (beyond the pitcher’s spot), and at least six of the spots could be held by players on the rise.
To make matters even scarier for their NL rivals, the Cubs reportedly aren’t done, either. With their big offensive free agent in place, the team will likely look to the trade market for additional pitching help. Chicago has plenty of interesting trade chips, with Javier Baez and/or Jorge Soler enough to get talks started for a legitimately scary major league arm.
In fact, they’ve had talks with Cleveland about Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, as well as with San Diego regarding Tyson Ross. Add any of those guys to a rotation with Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Kyle Hendricks, and baby you got a stew goin'. We’ve seen teams fall apart after winning the offseason enough times to get overly excited, but at this point every other team in the league needs to be terrified of the Cubs.
- The Cardinals missed out on Heyward, and now have to look for other options to fill their hole in the outfield.
- Even with higher profile options available, is Gerardo Parra the best fit for St. Louis?
- Bryce Harper thought about his potential free agency payday after seeing the Heyward deal and created a new ocean with his drool. Could he consider signing an extension instead, though?
- Grant Brisbee was nice enough to grade the moves made during the Winter Meetings.
- The Marlins asked for the moon from the Red Sox for Jose Fernandez. Boston turned them down, of course, but Miami wasn’t crazy with their ask.
- Really, though, what the hell are they even doing trying to trade him?
- Let’s take a look back at Yasiel Puig’s monumentally disappointing 2015.
- The Royals would like to get Alex Gordon back, but if that gets too expensive they could look to make a trade with the Rockies.
- Al Avila has a few very exciting young pitchers at his disposal in Detroit, and he's not afraid to utilize them in a bullpen role.
- Speaking of bullpens, Oakland’s was horrendous in 2015. Now, their attempt to rebuild it looks a lot like Houston’s a year ago.
- Michael Cuddyer retired, then unretired, then retired for real. He left over $12 million on the table in the process.