CHICAGO — He will forever be known in Chicago for “the speech,” but Jason Heyward’s time as the Cub is coming to an end, though he still has a year left on his contract.
Heyward, 32, will not be with the Cubs for an eighth season in 2023, baseball operations president Jed Hoyer said Monday.
“We want to give him a full offseason so he can go out there and find an opportunity,” Hoyer said. “We will go our separate ways at the end of the year.”
Heyward has been on the injury list since late June with a knee problem and may not return this season, meaning he may have played his last game as a Cub.
The team signed him to an eight-year, $184 million contract ahead of the 2016 season. The Cubs would win the World Series that season, their first in 108 years, and Heyward was credited by many in the organization with leading the team with a speech he delivered during a rain delay to his 10-inning Game 7 win to have led in Cleveland.
Despite those exploits, Heyward struggled on the plate for much of his Cubs career. He only cut .245/.323/.377 during his seven years in Chicago.
Hoyer was asked what he will remember most from Heyward’s time as a cub.
“Great teammate,” said Hoyer. “Great defender. He was someone who, even when he was struggling, gave his best every day, every off-season. He never stopped working. He never stopped trying to earn his contract. In many ways, the emotional leader of a Group of players that broke the curse here.”
The Cubs are in a youth movement with corner outfield for next season. At the moment, that includes Ian Happ, who was rumored to have traded before last week’s close – which was not the case.
“Probably next year we’ll be in the corner of the outfield with Seyia (Suzuki) and Ian,” said Hoyer. “For this year, I’m loving having[Heyward]around. He offers great leadership.”
Hoyer did not rule out a role for Heyward in the organization after his retirement, but did state that the veteran had told him he wanted to continue 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 for the last year and a half.”
Heyward was unavailable for comment before the Cubs hosted the Washington Nationals Monday night.
Heyward has been in the league since 2010 after being selected in the first round of the 2007 draft by the Atlanta Braves. He’s a career .257 hitter with 159 home runs.
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34371593/jason-heyward-another-year-left-contract-back-chicago-cubs-2023-jed-hoyer-says Jason Heyward, despite another year left on contract, won’t be back with Chicago Cubs in 2023, Jed Hoyer says