CHICAGO, IL – June 4: Jason Heyward of the Chicago Cubs stands on deck in a game against the St Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field on June 4, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images)
Longtime Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward is appreciated throughout the organization. When the time comes, he’d be welcomed back with open arms.
Jed Hoyer and the Cubs revealed that this would be Heyward’s last year in Chicago. One of the league’s highest-paid contracts when he signed at the time (eight years, $164 million in 2016), Heyward hasn’t played up to the standard that his AAV suggests.
This doesn’t mean he’s gone unappreciated.
Hoyer and Chicago’s front office view Heyward as a key member of the clubhouse, hence why they plan on keeping him around for the rest of the season. It’s also why they’d consider a future role with Heyward in the organization, even if not as a player.
The following, per Jesse Rogers, outlines a potential future role for Heyward:
“Hoyer didn’t rule out a role for Heyward with the organization after he retires but indicated that the veteran told him he wants to keep playing. It just won’t be with the Cubs.
“We felt like it was the right thing to do given where we are as an organization,” Hoyer said. “He doesn’t like it but understands where we are. I think it’s been a bit frustrating the last year and a half.”
As Hoyer said, Heyward intends to play beyond this season. Chicago sees their corner outfield positions as a done deal, with Ian Happ and Seiya Suzuki set to fill those roles. There is no starting position for a player with the reputation and AAV of Heyward.
Chicago’s front office want to do right by the veteran while he still has time to contribute to a contending team. A buyout is the correct decision, especially given the Cubs are not going to contend within the next calendar year.