Cubs: Is this the end of the road for Jason Heyward?

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

It feels like spring training just got started, but we’re now just 12 days from Opening Day at Wrigley Field, when the Cubs will battle the reigning NL Central champion Brewers to kick off the 2022 regular season.

Between now and then, though, the front office and manager David Ross have plenty of questions to answer on this roster, including what to do with five-time Gold Glove outfielder Jason Heyward and the final two years and $44 million left on his contract. Right now, there’s a very real chance Chicago could simply eat the contract and cut ties with Heyward, something that still seemed pretty unlikely in the not-too-distant past.

In my mind, the addition of Seiya Suzuki changed everything. You’re not going to take regular at-bats away from him just to get Heyward in there, especially given the latter is coming off yet another disappointing season at the dish. Last year, Heyward batted just .214/.280/.347 – and was more than 30 percent worse than the league average player, despite earning more than $21 million.

With where the organization is and where it’s headed, we’re at a crossroads – one that’s going to force the team to decide which path to take with Heyward. I opined last summer that time had come and that’s only more true now, given the plethora of outfield options the Cubs need to evaluate in 2022. 

I understand the role Heyward has played in Chicago – namely for his timely locker room speech during the rain delay in Game 7 nearly six years ago. But that can’t be the reason you keep a guy on the roster, despite the leadership role and veteran presence he brings to the locker room.

Cubbies Crib
Cubbies Crib /

Want your voice heard? Join the Cubbies Crib team!

Write for us!

dark. Next. Frazier hot early this spring, calls '22 'biggest year' of his career

Even in a diminished role – something we know Heyward is facing – it’s hard to have much faith in what he’ll bring to this team. The Cubs are better off letting Suzuki do his thing in right while mixing-and-matching in the final two spots, utilizing the likes of Ian Happ, Clint Frazier, Michael Hermosillo and Rafael Ortega to round out the outfield mix.