The Cubs have signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a monster 8-year, $184 million contract, as first reported by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
Cubs get heyward— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 11, 2015
Goold adds while the Cardinals were thought to be aggressive in their pursuit of Heyward, it does not appear he chose to re-sign with them. There is growing speculation that the Cardinals will now focus on free agent outfielder Alex Gordon.
Today's deal will take the all-star outfielder into his age-34 season. Of course, unless he uses one of his two opt-outs. After years three and four of the deal, Heyward will reportedly be eligible to opt-out of the deal provided he meets certain plate appearance thresholds.
Washington was also known to be in pursuit of Heyward, however according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, it "doesn't sound like the Nationals are optimistic on Heyward." Heyman also reported the Nationals are believed to have made Heyward a $200 million offer.
As the annual Winter Meetings came to an end, it appeared Heyward was close to making a decision. The Angels, Cubs and Cardinals were thought to be the finalists for Heyward, and the Giants were expected to be interested, although it is unclear if they ultimately made an offer.
Heyward, 26, batted .293/.359/.439 to complement 13 home runs and 60 RBIs over 154 games last season. He has also stolen at least 20 bases in each of the last three seasons and could add a valuable left-handed bat to a club's lineup.
Carlos Gonzalez could be an option for some clubs seeking outfield help, and Alex Gordon and Justin Upton are also still available. There are notable options for organizations hoping to add an outfielder, however the Cubs likely made the most sense because of their ability to give Heyward an extensive contract.
Cubs President of Baseball Operations has not been opposed to signing players to large deals in the past, and has no signed a top left-handed hitting outfielder to a large deal.