(670 The Score) Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward’s disappointing tenure in Chicago is over. All that’s left is for the team to make the official transaction at some point.
Currently on the injured list with a knee ailment, Heyward won’t play for the Cubs again in 2022 and the organization will part ways with him before the 2023 season, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said Monday evening. Heyward joined the Cubs on a massive eight-year, $184-million deal in December 2015, when he was one of the premier free agents in the game.
Heyward is owed $22 million in 2023, the final season of his contract.
Heyward, 32, was hitting .204 with one homer, 10 RBIs and a .556 OPS in 48 games this season. It concluded an extremely disappointing Cubs tenure for him, as Heyward struggled at the plate for nearly his entire time in Chicago, where he hit .245 with a .700 OPS and 85 OPS+ (league average is 100) across seven seasons.
“Given where we are as an organization, trying to give guys like (Nelson) Velazquez and (Christopher) Morel and guys like that playing time – and there will be more guys like that that we want to give playing time – it felt like the right thing to do given where we are as an organization," Hoyer said. "I’ve had a pretty open dialogue with him about this. Jason, he’s a fantastic human being. I think he doesn’t like it, but he understands where we are. I think it’s been a frustrating last year-and-a-half. A lot of guys that were a big part of why he signed here have been traded away. It made sense for both of us, and we talked through it. We’re in a good place with it.”
While he failed to measure up to his lucrative contract, Heyward was a useful player in other ways, as he was long regarded as a team leader and was a strong defender, winning two Gold Gloves with Chicago. The highlight of his Cubs tenure came in Game 7 of the World Series in 2016, when Heyward gave an impassioned speech to his teammates during a rain delay imploring them to continue believing after they coughed up a lead late in the game. The Cubs ended up winning 8-7 in 10 innings to break their 108-year championship drought.
Heyward wants to continue his playing career, Hoyer said.