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What should the Cubs do with Jason Heyward?

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The Cubs are likely at a crossroads with J-Hey going into 2022.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Heyward suffered a concussion in the September 11 game against the Giants on this play [VIDEO].

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford’s knee accidentally hit Heyward in the head and he left the game, eventually being placed on the concussion list.

Tuesday, Cubs manager David Ross announced that Heyward wouldn’t play again this year. Thus he completes his 2021 season with the worst numbers of his career: 214/.280/.347 (69-for-323) with eight home runs in 104 games. That comes after he actually had decent production in the 60-game pandemic season in 2020: .265/.392/.456, six home runs in 147 at-bats.

Heyward seemed to have lost a step in the field and on the bases this year. He turned 32 in August. On the other hand, just before the concussion he had started to hit a bit better. Over his last 15 games: .333/.375/.556 (15-for-45) with two doubles, a triple and two home runs, and only six strikeouts.

The Cubs are obviously going to be a hugely revamped team in 2022. Heyward, who is a respected clubhouse veteran, might not fit in to the Cubs’ plans going forward.

The Cubs have to pay Heyward $22 million over each of the next two seasons regardless of whether he plays or not, and also have a $23 million luxury tax hit from his contract in 2022 and 2023.

I have seen and heard suggestions that the Cubs should just release Heyward and eat the money. This is not an unreasonable idea, given his production and the fact that they have to pay the money anyway.

But I have what might be a better idea. Why not shop him around, offer to pay the entire contract, and see if any team might be willing to trade some sort of prospect for him? This is what the Cubs did with Alfonso Soriano in 2013. They paid $17.7 million of the $24.5 million remaining on Soriano’s deal when they sent him to the Yankees and received pitching prospect Corey Black in return. Yes, Black never made it to the big leagues, but at least the Cubs got something back.

Perhaps the Atlanta Braves would be willing to take Heyward back at essentially the minimum salary; Heyward had some great years in Atlanta, is a native of that area and would probably fit in well on that team as a fifth outfielder. The Cubs could perhaps get some minor pitching prospect in return.

Or maybe another team might be willing to make a deal like that.

It seems likely that the Cubs would like to move on from Jason Heyward in 2022. This might be a way to get something out of paying all that money, rather than just releasing him.

Poll

What should the Cubs do with Jason Heyward this offseason?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Try to trade him, eat the entire contract, and get a minor prospect in return
    (770 votes)
  • 12%
    Give him his unconditional release
    (156 votes)
  • 20%
    Nothing — he should be on the team in 2022
    (253 votes)
  • 2%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (27 votes)
1206 votes total Vote Now