Elephant in Room at Winter Meetings

Regarding the state of the Cubs entering the December 2017 Winter Meetings, one should probably start with the elephant in the room.

Given his monthly paycheck, Jason Heyward will play every day or at least the days that can’t be justified as “rest,” and so the question becomes, where do you play your weakest hitter? Usually it’s shortstop or centerfield. Because Heyward roams right field like a centerfielder and also has a strong, accurate arm, he wins Gold Gloves there. But that’s a little unfair to other RF’s, who in addition to displaying a strong arm are required to hit with power. Heyward barely hits like a centerfielder and he’s a tad slow in the field and on the bases. But center is the only place he fits. I’ll pencil him in there for next year (and the four following).

That takes care of the elephant in the room, but unfortunately it also takes care of Albert Almora, whom I would prefer to have out there gliding around like–well, like DiMaggio. (There, I’ve said it.) He doesn’t hit like DiMaggio, but he hits better than Heyward.

I don’t necessarily like Ian Happ in right field, but there may still be a way to get Happ in the lineup and also fill the position in right field, where, I’m predicting, there will soon be a vacancy. Happ played a little third base in the season-ending series at home against the Reds, and I thought he sparkled in that role. Happ is no twinkletoes: he’s a little heavy and doesn’t glide to the ball smoothly, whether at second base or in the outfield. Third base requires no gliding, just quick reflexes and hands.

With Happ at third and Bryant moving to right field and with Heyward quietly–very quietly–holding down center, maybe the elephant exits the room.

In terms of the Winter Meetings, my guess is that Almora, out of necessity, gets traded, maybe along with Russell. Happ stays, Schwarber stays, Caratini stays.

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