Cubs inexplicably choose Jason Heyward over Clint Frazier

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

If there’s one thing I should have learned in my two-plus years of home ownership, it’s that your estimate on how long it will take to complete a project is never accurate. That was the case on Friday night, when I had a series of floating shelves to install in the kitchen – which led to me listening to the Cubs game, rather than watching.

I was finally able to tune in around the seventh or so, only to watch Chicago fail to push the go ahead-run in the eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth innings. Good times.

Regardless of the fact the Cubs lost yet another one-run game in the series opener, what really had Cubs Twitter ablaze was the team’s pregame decision to designate outfielder Clint Frazier for assignment in order to bring right-hander Chris Martin back from the bereavement list.

Perhaps if the logic behind the move made more sense, the reaction wouldn’t have been quite as vitriolic. But this is what David Ross had to say of the move when asked:

I don’t doubt for a second Frazier was emotional. The front office made it perfectly clear with the moves made last winter: 2022 was about evaluating guys to determine if they could be potential long-term assets. Frazier fit that bill perfectly as a former first-rounder who’d only ever shown flashes at the big league level.

With multiple years of team control remaining, if he put it all together (which, admittedly, is far from a certainty), the Cubs could come away with a controllable young piece to add to the mix. Unfortunately, the combination of an emergency appendectomy and Ross’ unfailing insistence to play Jason Heyward on a daily basis, Frazier never got a fair shake with the Cubs this year.

Cubs talk about the future while making questionable roster moves

He totaled a whopping 45 plate appearances, batting .216/.356/.297 – good for a 95 wRC+. Meanwhile, even after his best game of the season Friday, Heyward carries a .229/.308/.323 line (81 wRC+) and has clearly lost a step in several areas of his game. Not to mention this isn’t anything new. It’s been clear, really since the start of the 2021 season, he isn’t a guy who’s going to bring any sort of long-term value to the team.

Regardless, Ross and Jed Hoyer continue to stay loyal to the veteran five-time Gold Glover. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve respect for what he’s done in his Cubs career. But the team has given him chance after chance, only to get the same ‘roll over balls to the right side’ set of results time and time again.

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You can’t expect fans to blindly accept a move like this when the on-field product is subpar specifically because we’ve been told the organization is evaluating internal options and focusing on building a sustainable long-term winner. Heyward has zero shot at contributing to that team, whenever it arrives. Frazier probably wouldn’t have either, but the odds of him making a difference past 2022 far exceeds Heyward’s odds.