Not only did he prove himself valuable defensively and offensively in his only season in St. Louis in 2015, Heyward came at a steep price. To pry him away from the Braves, the Cardinals parted with budding ace Shelby Miller, who would look pretty good in a rotation that will be without Lance Lynn (Tommy John surgery) in 2016. St. Louis has a ton of outfield depth, but Heyward would leave a sizeable void in an offense that finished 24th in the majors in runs this past season.
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Make Heyward a priority: Cubs
There isn’t a pressing need for outfield help in Chicago, despite the expected loss of free-agent center fielder Dexter Fowler. But if the Cubs aren’t going to invest heavily in starting pitching, why not add another productive hitter -- one who strikes out far less often than most Cubs. Heck, the 26-year-old Heyward would qualify as a mentor/veteran presence for aspiring left fielder Kyle Schwarber (pictured) and the team's other young sluggers. And for a team whose biggest deficiency is defense, Heyward would be even more valuable as an NL Gold Glove winner the past two seasons.
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Make Heyward a priority: Royals
The perils of free agency: Kansas City could lose both of its starting corner outfielders (Alex Gordon, Alex Rios) from its World Series championship squad, as well as a versatile defender (Ben Zobrist) who can play both corner outfield spots. The Royals probably would prefer to retain Gordon, whom they drafted and developed, but he also will be in high demand. Heyward would fit in perfect with the make-contact, run-aggressively, defense-first manta in KC.
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Make Heyward a priority: Angels
The team already is going to be a defensive highlight reel with Mike Trout in center field and Andrelton Simmons at shortstop. Why not add another Gold Glover in right field? Heyward also would provide a big boost for an offense that finished 26th in the majors in on-base percentage and 27th in batting average. The Angels stole only 52 bases last season; Heyward topped 20 steals for the third time in four seasons in 2015.
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Make Heyward a priority: Orioles
If Chris Davis leaves, Baltimore will be forced to replace his offense. Heyward obviously isn’t a 50-homer hitter, but he can help in other ways. The Orioles finished in the lower third of the majors in batting average and on-base percentage – two areas in which Heyward can provide an instant boost. The corner-outfield spots were black holes offensively for Baltimore last season, and the team isn’t loaded with the prospects necessary to trade for an impact outfielder. An outfield combo of Adam Jones (pictured) and Heyward would be pretty impressive.