Chicago Cubs: Chili Davis already putting in work with Jason Heyward

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 24: Outfielder Jason Heyward
MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 24: Outfielder Jason Heyward /

Stop me if you’ve heard this. The Chicago Cubs’ Jason Heyward is already working on his swing this offseason. Surprised? No. But it’s a new coach that will try his hand with Heyward in Chili Davis.

When the Chicago CubsJason Heyward went to work immediately after the Cubs won the World Series, people were skeptical. I mean, he was working to change his swing completely. Would he be able to teach himself the muscle memory to not go back to his old ways? The results were mixed, but he did raise his average 29 points. That only bumped him to a .259 mark, but it was an improvement, nonetheless.

But those changes were with Eric Hinske and John Mallee, but now gone from the Cubs’ staff. It’s Chili Davis‘ turn. And he’s looking at it as a new relationship. And he cares not one bit about what past hitting coaches have to say about Heyward.

Starting Anew

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"“I’ve heard a lot of different opinions on Jason Heyward,” Davis said Saturday. (Subscription required) “The one thing I always try to point out to him is I don’t care what anyone says about you. A relationship with me is kind of like with your wife or girlfriend. Who she dated prior to you doesn’t matter. It’s what happens from that point on."

That’s a solid point. Hewyard has likely mad some mistakes in his playing career. Changing his swing on a regular basis is one of them. But one of the things that Davis plans to do is shift Heyward’s philosophy at the plate and not his swing.

A mental change, not a physical one

"”I try to bring a mentality and not as much a philosophy,” he said. ”Everybody has a philosophy and to me a lot of them match. I try to bring a mentality in how we approach the games day in and day out. Trust is huge.”"

For a man of his stature, you would expect the home runs to come. But that’s one of the things that Davis hopes to work on. Bringing bask some of that power he had earlier in his career. He’s hit 18 home runs his rookie season and 27 in 2012. Since then he’s hit 14 twice, with a career-low seven with the Cubs in 2016. When you sign a $184 million deal and the best part of your season is the speech you gave in the Indians weight room? Something has to change.

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For Davis, he played 19 years in the majors, hit .279 and 350 home runs for his career. “He does have a good reputation and I can see why, said Heyward. Having trust in Davis is almost as important as him in the player. Hitting just a tad under .280 for a 19-year career is saying something. That’s a lifetime of success, and the Cubs understand that. Now they just need to take hold of the mentality and run with it.