Chicago Cubs Free Agency: Top players to go after

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Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Jackson — Center Field

Yes, a lot of people want the Cubs to go in on Jason Heyward. Heyward is a young superstar who is in the prime of his career and is already a free agent.

It will probably take $200 million and six years to sign him. He will likely also demand an opt-out clause after three or four years so he can hit the free agent market again and get an even bigger contract.

The Cubs have a future center-fielder-in-waiting. Albert Almora will be one of the other young stars who will take over in Chicago. It is not known if he will be ready to go when the season starts in 2016, but he may be there mid-season or 2017 at the very least.

In the meantime, the Cubs need someone who can be a bridge to Almora.

Austin Jackson can be a good replacement. He is still young at 28, and he can be a good top-of-the-order guy. He hit .267/.311/.385, with 9 home runs and he had 25 doubles.

Jackson did not do much offensively while with the Cubs (.236 batting average), but he was not asked to do much on the offensive side. He was acquired for his glove.

Defensively, Jackson could be very important. He has a lot of range, and that will greatly help if the Cubs have Kyle Schwarber back in left field and Jorge Soler at right.

If Almora is ready to go, Jackson can be the fourth outfielder, and can come in late in games for his defense.

Of course, the Cubs, with fat wallets, may decide to go the Heyward route if they want to act like they are spending money at the strip club. They may have a superstar waiting to explode, with more club control and more cost-effective, so they can target other key players, or multiple second-tier players.

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