A recent post from one of our fellow FanSided sites claims the Chicago Cubs should simply “leave Jason Heyward alone”, instead of tinkering with a guy just one year into a massive deal. But what makes him think this was the Cubs doing?
The Chicago Cubs have been a hot topic of conversation for a lot of people in the sports world. When you win your first World Series in 108 years, that can happen. Recently a video of Jason Heyward retooling his swing showed up on Darnell McDonald’s Instagram. It gives us a look at a very different stance for Heyward, one that Steve Contursi of Call to the Pen thinks the Cubs shouldn’t be messing with. But why is it he believes the Cubs are doing the tinkering?
Look. There’s no getting around the fact that Heyward’s season was a dismal one. You very well could say the Cubs won the World Series in spite of his place on the team and not because of it. Heyward once again put up a solid defensive season, garnering his fourth Gold Glove of his career. Was that worth $184 million? Not at all. But Heyward wasn’t content with it. He heard the talk. He sees the metrics. Pitchers threw Heyward mostly fastballs this season, and he struggled with them.
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Heyward gets to work
So what does Heyward do? He makes a change to his swing to help him get to the fastball better. And the assumption that the Cubs are doing this is just silly. The fact is that Heyward has changed his swing or stance almost every year of his career. Contursi argues that it’s a “slippery slope” the Cubs are on with Heyward–only the Cubs didn’t put him or themselves on this slope. This is Heyward. This is what he does. For better, or in the case of this season, worse.
His career numbers didn’t warrant the money he was paid. The Cubs were hoping for a .265+ hitter with 10-15 home run power and a great glove. They got the glove, but that was about it. So Heyward bought a home near the Cubs Spring Training facility and has gotten to work. As Contursi mentions, Heyward isn’t the type of player to take the money and say, “oh well, I got paid”. So why is he surprised–or upset–to see Heyward doing what he’s doing?
He’s not a “pet” as Contursi mentions, but a competitor. He wants to do better than he did in 2016. Clearly, the constant changes he’s made in his career are a sign he’s never content with his results. This year it didn’t work out for the best. But that’s not going to stop Heyward from taking the necessary steps to get better.