This piece, written by BP Wrigleyville’s Editor-in-Chief Sahadev Sharma, originally appeared on Baseball Prospectus and is available exclusively to BP subscribers. We hope you enjoy this preview here.
Signed OF Jason Heyward to an eight-year deal worth $184 million. [12/11]
Outside the organization, outside the city, around baseball, the story is the Cubs are coming fast and the Cubs are coming strong.
—Theo Epstein, September 2013
It was easy to mock Epstein at the time that quote was made. His team was coming off it’s fourth-straight fifth-place finish and he was answering questions from a media wondering why he’d just fired his hand-picked manager two years into an obvious rebuild. Nobody’s mocking Epstein and the Cubs anymore.
It’s rare that a team has a perfect offseason, but what the Cubs have done over the past week is as close as one can get. Oddly enough, they might not be finished, but that’s still to be seen. What they have done is improve upon their three primary stated weaknesses—starting pitching depth, contact/situational hitting, and outfield defense—and all they’ve had to do is spend money and trade away Starlin Castro. It’s inarguable that they’ve enhanced a 97-win team and if this front office has its way, there’smore to come.
But let’s focus on the addition of Jason Heyward. About a week ago over at BP Wrigleyville, I laid out why Heyward is a perfect fitfor this Cubs team and would be worth the rather large deal he was inevitably headed for. Essentially, the argument goes as such: he’s an 80-grade glove in right, scouts agree he can be above-average if used in center, and his contact rate of 84.2 percent would have led all Cubs (with at least 100 plate appearances) last year. Now he fits in smoothly as the Cubs second-best contact hitter behind the newly acquired Ben Zobrist.
To read the rest of the piece, head on over to Baseball Prospectus.
Lead photo courtesy Charles LeClaire—USA Today Sports.