Cleat Geeks

Cubs Made Their List, and Checked it Twice

John Lackey, Ben Zobrist, and Adam Warren.  This is just the start of a busy off-season for the Chicago Cubs.  

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer know this team was so close to the World Series and they start off the off-season addressing the weaknesses of last years team.

john_lackey_st.louis_cardinals

John Lackey, played with Lester on the Boston Red Sox and helped end the World Series drought in Boston, he has had a very successful career.  Last year, he posted his lowest season ending ERA of his career (2.77).

The Cubs missed having a true number three starter in their rotation.  Jason Hammel was not the guy the Cubs really wanted in that position.  His 14.54 postseason ERA is a great example.

 

Royals-Ben-ZobristBen Zobrist is the ultimate utility player.  Zobrist played for Maddon in Tampa so reuniting them is good for both sides.  The biggest thing with the Zobrist singing is he left money on the table to come to the North Side.  You don’t see that a lot these days.  

Zobrist posted a .274 BA last season to go along with 13 HRs and 56 RBIs.  Zobrist is a contact hitter and will fill the void as the lead-off hitter and an everyday second baseman.  Maddon loves players that can play around the diamond and have versatility.  Zobrist is going to be a great fit.

AdamWarrenAdam Warren, who was acquired from the New York Yankees for Starlin Castro, posted a 7-7 record with a 3.29 ERA last season.  Warren is 28 and could be a four or five starter for a couple of years if he continues to produce.

Starlin Castro will be missed.  This was a guy who played in the dark days of the Cubs under Jim Hendry and it’s sad to see him finally be a part of a winning team but be traded away from it.  A fan favorite that will not be forgotten.

Now there is still one more piece of the puzzle to be put into place: a Center fielder.

Jed Hoyer on the signing a Center fielder:

“It hasn’t kicked off yet,” Hoyer said. “It’s just a matter of time. We’ve talked to pretty much all the outfielders’ agents at this point.”

Jason Heyward is the big name on the market this off-season. From making his name known in Atlanta to being on a very successful St. Louis Cardinal team, Heyward is a valuable asset no matter what team he joins.  A powerful bat and speed on the base path, he has the power to change games in a hurry.

JasonHeywardHeyward’s asking price is 200 million over 8 years.  Many teams have the money but will Heyward just want to play anywhere?  The Cubs have made room for Heyward by getting all of Starlins salary off the books and signing Lackey and Zobrist to medium level deals. Lackey is 37, Zobrist is 34, it would be a great move by Theo Epstein to get younger this off-season and gives the Cubs some youth in the CF position. Now it’s up to Heyward to make a decision.

And make a decision he did as he decided to sign with the Cubs today. He received an 8 year deal for $184 million. He is the first player to sign a contract in excess of $100 million without ever driving or scoring over 100 runs. But if you like the numbers of baseball, he is in the top 5 as far as WAR, mostly because of his defensive skills.

Pitchers and catchers report in less than 70 days! #BaseballisAlmostHere

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