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The Jason Heyward era in Chicago will soon be coming to a close as the Cubs are set to release him at the conclusion of the season. This means the Cubs will be on the hook to pay him a large sum of money not to play for them next season.
Jed Hoyer, the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, has explained he and Heyward have discussed the situation at length, but it’s simply time to move on.
“He doesn’t like it but certainly understands where we are,” Hoyer told the Chicago Tribune. “I think it’s been a frustrating last year and a half, with a lot of the guys that were a big part of why he signed here have been traded away. And so it kind of made sense for both of us and we’ve talked through it and we’re in a good place.”
Heyward is in year seven of his eight-year, $184 million contract. It’s highly unlikely that the Cubs will find a trade partner for Heyward given his contract and numbers on the field. This leaves Chicago one option: releasing him and paying him $22 million in 2023 not to play for them.
This certainly isn’t the first, nor will it be the last contract situation we see like this. This sort of scenario unfolds semi-frequently when we’re talking about lengthy contracts for aging players, especially in MLB.
Heyward was hitting just .204 this season before suffering a knee injury that’ll likely keep him in the dugout for the remainder of the season. He was a vital player during the Cubs’ World Series run in 2016 but hasn’t been as consistent at the plate as Chicago fans and management would have liked during his time in the Windy City.
The Cubs currently sit third in the NL Central and 15.5 games back in the Wild Card.