The Cubs have several players, including Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler and Trevor Cahill that turned down more money elsewhere to sign in Chicago, tweets Jon Heyman. The Cardinals’ best offer is to Heyward is “thought to [have been]” $200MM over 10 years, while the Nationals, as previously reported, offered the outfielder $200MM+ over 10 years, albeit with significant deferrals, Heyman tweets. The three bids between the two teams were pretty much comparable (link), but Heyward simply preferred the Cubs over the other clubs. The outfielder, he adds, liked the team’s nucleus and, personally, he has a good history of playing at Wrigley. Heyman also notes that the other teams would have been willing to give him an opt-out as well.
A few more notes from around the NL…
- Charlie Morton is hopeful that his groundball-inducing ways will translate to hitter-friendly Citzens Bank Park, PhillyVoice’s Ryan Lawrence writes. Morton produced a 4.81 ERA, 6.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 pitching with the Pirates, although with an excellent 57.3% ground ball rate. “I had a theory about smaller parks, and the ground that outfielders have to cover, it’s minimized when you have a smaller park,” Morton says. “So if you can pitch to contact and pitch to weak contact, especially ground balls, I think you’ll do really well. Knock on wood, but I’ve had some success at Great American Ball Park, Great American Small Park. I think some of the reason why that is is because if I’m inducing weak contact or ground balls.” Morton has, indeed, posted a career 3.83 ERA in 54 innings at “Great American Small Park,” better than his career 4.54 ERA. That could merely be a sample-size issue, however. In any case, if Morton succeeds in the tight confines of Citizens Bank Park, he could perhaps, as Lawrence points out, fetch a prospect or two for the Phillies this summer.
- Highly touted minor league right-handers Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow represent options this season should any pitcher in the Pirates’ rotation fall to injury or struggle significantly, GM Neal Huntington told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. However, while the Pirates recognized that Taillon and Glasnow could factor into the club’s rotation in 2016, they didn’t bank on that fact. Pittsburgh added veterans Jon Niese (via trade with the Mets) and Ryan Vogelsong (via free agency) to round out the rotation. Huntington noted that Glasnow still needs to refine his changeup before making it to the Major Leagues, saying Glasnow is “still doing minor league hitters a favor” when he turns to his changeup over his electric fastball. Taillon is now two years removed from Tommy John surgery and will have his innings monitored this year.
- Giants outfielder Denard Span talked with MLB Network Radio’s Cliff Floyd and Casey Stern about his free agency this winter and his goals for his first season with the Giants (audio link). “This team, they took a chance on me,” said Span. “A lot of other teams were shying away, but the Giants just showed how much they really wanted me, and so it made it an easy decision for me. … The fact that they pursued me and pursued a couple other guys — [Jeff] Samardzija and [Johnny] Cueto — it makes me feel good that they feel like, they didn’t go to the postseason last year, and I’m one of the missing pieces to help them get back there.” Among the other topics covered by Span are his first impressions of future Hall of Fame skipper Bruce Bochy and how he plans to work on outfield communication with the man he displaced in center field — Angel Pagan (who will now slide over to left field).