Add another Cardinal to the list of free agents linked to the Cubs.
Pitcher John Lackey has been considered one of Chicago’s top targets for more than a month, and now ESPN1000’s David Kaplan is reporting the Cubs are also interested in outfielder Jason Heyward.
More Cubs stuff- indeed looking at upgrading catcher spot but not sure they can move Montero. Cubs like Heyward a lot. Lackey a possibility.— David Kaplan (@thekapman) November 23, 2015
With Dexter Fowler free to sign elsewhere, Heyward could be a replacement in the outfield. At just 26, Heyward is still in the prime of his career and despite stagnant offensive numbers, ranks eighth among all position players in wins above replacement since he entered the league in 2010, according to ESPN.
Heyward batted a career-high .293 in 2015 and remains one of the best defensive players in baseball as he captured his third Gold Glove.
Even though the Cubs are rumored to be more interested in pitching, ESPN’s David Schoenfield said Heyward to Chicago is a definite possibility.
The team is currently without a legitimate center fielder on the 40-man roster. The outfield corners would be Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber, both below-average defenders, with Chris Coghlan filling in. So two options here. Heyward would be passable in center field, at least for a couple of seasons, if the Cubs wanted to go that route. Or to maximize his defensive value, they play Heyward in right and move to Soler to left, especially if they believe Schwarber can catch. Or they trade Soler or Schwarber. Remember, there’s always a big free-agent signing that comes out of nowhere. This wouldn’t shock me.
Multiple reports have Heyward’s deal being north of $200 million. But if the Cubs miss out on David Price and Zack Greinke, Heyward wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize.
WATCH: Jason Heyward highlights
All stats via Baseball Reference.