Chicago Cubs: Does Jason Heyward have any legitimate value left?

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The 2021 baseball season is rapidly winding down, and it is hard to believe that such a crazy regular season is coming to a close. However, with that being said, it is time to look into the 2022 season and the overall future of this Chicago Cubs team. There are so many questions that remain unanswered. One of the topics in question that is probably overlooked is Jason Heyward and his future with the team.

On September 11, in a game against the San Francisco Giants, Jason Heyward was kneed in the head by Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. Following the scary collision, he suffered from a concussion and was placed on the 10-day IL. More recently, we learned he’s done for the year.

The 32-year-old outfielder endured a brutal showing in 2021, slashing .214/.280/.347 with eight homers across 105 games. These are the worst numbers of his career – and came as somewhat of a surprise given the success he had in 2020. During the abbreviated 60-game 2020 season, the veteran outfielder slashed .265/.392/.456 with six home runs. Not only is Heyward’s offense trending down, but it seems as if he looked somewhat lost both on the bases and out in the outfield this season.

Heyward is already in his early thirties, and he still has two years and $44 million left on his contract. That deal, of course, dates back to 2016 and, if we’re being honest, he did not live up to expectations, except for maybe 2020 when, like I said, he seemed to figure some things out. Looking forward, Chicago needs to figure out what to do with Heyward, and from the looks of it, it seems that the best-case scenario would be to cut ties with him.

Chicago Cubs should let go of Jason Heyward, one way or another

There are a few routes the team could take. One of them is eating the money and releasing Heyward. Regardless of if he plays or not, The Cubs still have to pay Heyward $22 million in the next two years and the $23 million luxury tax from his contract in these years. So yes, the team could release him despite the money since he has underperformed, and no matter what, it has to be paid.

Not only that, the Cubs will be an entirely different club in 2022, and at this point, it does not seem like Jason Heyward fits the bill. So with that being said, the next and more favorable option would be to trade him. While this might sound unrealistic, it might not be as far-fetched of an idea as we fans might think.

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By shopping Heyward around and offering to pay his contract, there is the possibility of the Cubs getting prospects in exchange for him. Who knows, maybe a team looking for inexpensive outfield help and/or a veteran presence in the clubhouse would be interested. There is no way to know until they try. One way or another, this guy’s gotta go.