The Chicago Cubs officially released five-time Gold Glove winner Jason Heyward following a disappointing and injury-filled 2022 season.
The #Cubs today granted OF Jason Heyward his unconditional release.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 14, 2022
The club still owed the former Brave $22 million, and Heyward playing in just 48 games while hitting .204 wasn’t going to work for a rebuilding team. The Cubs handed him an eight-year, $184 million deal before the 2016 season, and now the 33-year-old will test the free agent market. Could the Braves be potential suitors?
He last played in June before a knee injury resulted in an injured list stint, finishing the season with a .556 OPS. Over his career in Chicago, Heyward owns a .245/.323/.377 slash line with 62 home runs in 744 games. However, he was never a liability in the field, winning two of his five Gold Gloves with the Cubs. But his most important quality, which will make him attractive to the Braves, is leadership.
Heyward famously gave a speech during Game 7 of the 2016 World Series that propelled the Cubs to their first title in over 100 years. There is likely a limited market for the veteran, but the one-time All-Star returning to Atlanta, where his career began, could be a mutually beneficial situation.
Hell, the club might be able to sign him to a completely risk-free deal. He’s not the player he once was, and the Braves could use someone on the bench in case of emergencies that provides a positive presence in the locker room.. Heredia’s awesome in the clubhouse, but let’s be real, he doesn’t bring much to the table on the field, which makes for an intriguing option. Heyward at least has some upside. If he could regain his form, he’d give Brian Snitker another starting caliber outfielder to fill the void in left field.
Photographer: Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire