This roster move has been expected ever since Jed Hoyer announced last August that Jason Heyward would not be with the team in 2023.
Today, the Cubs made it official:
The #Cubs today granted OF Jason Heyward his unconditional release.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 14, 2022
The Cubs also paid tribute to J-Hey on Twitter:
Thank you for every moment, J-Hey. https://t.co/npdeapmLE8 pic.twitter.com/i3uwAJmUlF— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 14, 2022
I don’t have a lot more to say today than what I wrote in appreciation of Heyward back in August, but I thought I’d post this excerpt from it, which followed a portion of Tom Verducci’s book about the World Series that cited how Heyward’s clubhouse speech during Game 7 helped fire up Cubs players (then, please go read the rest of it):
Baseball is not just a game of numbers. If it were, Jason Heyward might be considered a failure, at least for his time in Chicago. As you probably know, players often spend more time together during the season than they do with their families. To have something like this happen, in a critical situation like that, and given the 108-year history the team was trying to throw off its back, I believe Heyward’s speech did make a difference. Now, did the players have to go out and produce after that? Of course they did, but if that little speech gave them the tiniest mental advantage, it was worth the entire $184 million contract — because that World Series win lasts forever.
Heyward also was a consummate teammate, never complained, always worked hard to improve his craft and did a tremendous amount of charitable work in the community — and he plans to spend a fair amount of time in Chicago after he’s done playing, because his wife’s family is from the Chicago area.
I hope the Cubs will consider bringing him back in a coaching or front office role when he’s done playing.
The Cubs are on the hook for $22 million for Heyward in 2023, which will be reduced by $700,000 (the minimum salary) if any other team signs him. The Cubs’ 40-man roster currently stands at 34.
I’m glad Heyward was here. All the best to him going forward.