The Chicago Cubs keep making big moves in free agency, with a special knack for pissing off the St. Louis Cardinals. They signed Jason Heyward off of their big division rivals despite both the Cards and the Washington Nationals offering him more money.
Heyward, the 26-year old right fielder known for his excellent defense (three Gold Glove award) and very consistent hitting (a career high .293 batting last season, .268 for his career), signed an 8-year, $184 million deal with the Cubs, who also signed pitcher John Lackey off of the Cardinals a bit earlier in the offseason. Both the Cardinals and the Nationals had a $200 million offer waiting, but not for the first time, it seems the Cubs are offering something to players money can’t buy.
Heyward played for the Atlanta Braves since his 2010 rookie season, making the All-Star game. He was traded by the Atlanta Braves with Jordan Walden to the St. Louis Cardinals for Tyrell Jenkins (minors) and Shelby Miller, who has also since replaced teams, signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Heyward made $7.8 million last season for the Cardinals, hitting 13 home runs for 60 RBIs and stealing 23 bases.
Maybe the most important stat from Heyward, who doesn’t have the most eye popping metrics, is his WAR. Over the last two years his WAR is 12.7, fifth among position players in Major League Baseball in that timespan. He hasn’t been making the All-Star game for it, but he has been in three MVP ballots, receiving votes.
The Cubs are through with grooming, or not just developing anymore. They showed their intent a year ago with some interesting signings, but they’re really going overboard heading into 2016, with nothing but a World Series pleasing them, deciding it’s time to let their financial abilities make a difference as well, hoping it doesn’t explode in their faces like it has in the past before Theo Epstein arrived.