Looking back at Jason Heyward and the Chicago Cubs' 2015 offseason

Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

This coming season will be the first season for the Chicago Cubs since 2015 without Jason Heyward. Heyward, who was a vital part of the rain delay in the 2016 Game 7 World Series, is currently signed to a minor-league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During the 2015 free agency, Heyward was considered to be a top player. MLB Trade Rumors had Heyward as the 2nd best free agent. Clearly, that did not work out. 

The Cubs gave Heyward an 8-year $184 million contract and was bought out at the end of the 2022 season. Hitting just .245 in his 7 seasons, it was definitely a disappointment for the gold glove outfielder making $23 million a season. Despite his 6 gold gloves with the Cubs, the signing was overall a disappointment. 

Looking back at the 2015 free agents, who would have been a better move for the Cubs to sign? Heyward was really the only top outfield free agent. Instead, the Cubbies could have used that $184 million to go for other free agents such as Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Daniel Murphy, Darren O’Day, or Rich Hill. At the time, the Cubbies may have thought they needed an outfielder, but the minors consisted of Jorge Soler, Albert Almora Jr., Eloy Jimenez, and Kyle Schwarber. With the high probability going into 2016 that John Lackey was close to retirement, a smart move would be to sign another starting pitcher. Just imagine a rotation of Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Mike Montgomery, and Zack Greinke. Signing a player like Greinke would most definitely help this team push in the playoffs following 2016. 

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Overall, the Jason Heyward signing was bad. Heyward was lights-out with Atlanta and St. Louis, so at the time it was a great move. Unfortunately, he did not pan out to be the player he was. When it comes to free-agent signings, anything can happen. A player can be amazing or can consistently struggle. Even though the team needed outfield help, especially defensively, they should have trusted who they have in their system and upgrade the team at other positions.