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Jason Heyward Won't Return to Cubs for Final Year of Contract; Owed $22M in 2023

Doric SamAugust 8, 2022

Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Veteran outfielder Jason Heyward is set to find a new home this offseason.

Chicago Cubs President Jed Hoyer told reporters Monday that Heyward will not be on the team in 2023 despite having one year and $22 million remaining on his contract. Hoyer said there have been discussions with Heyward, who intends to keep playing, so Chicago will allow him to find a new team when the season is over.

Heyward, who is on the injured list with inflammation in his right knee, signed an eight-year, $184 million deal with Chicago in 2016. He spent the first five seasons of his career with the Atlanta Braves and one year with the St. Louis Cardinals before joining the Cubs.

The 32-year-old has appeared in 48 games this year and hit .204/.278/.277 with one home run and 10 RBI. Hoyer said Chicago is focused on giving playing time to its younger players going forward, which allows the team to move on from Heyward.

"Given where we are as an organization, trying to give guys like [Nelson] Velazquez and [Christopher] Morel, guys like that, playing time, and there'll be more guys like that that we want to give playing time, it felt like the right thing to do," Hoyer said.

The Cubs (43-64) are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the third time in the last four years. Hoyer added that Heyward isn't completely happy with the situation, but as Chicago continues to make changes to its core, he understands the reasoning behind the decision.

"He doesn't like it, but he understands where we are. I think it's been a frustrating last year-and-a-half, a lot of the guys who were a big part of why he signed here were traded away," Hoyer said. "So I think it made sense for both of us and we've talked through it and we're in a good place with it."

Hoyer said he'd welcome Heyward back to the organization when he calls it a career, but he believes the five-time Gold Glove winner has a lot of playing time ahead of him.

"I'd welcome that, but I know he wants to play after this year," Hoyer said. "I always tell people, 'Make sure you know you're retired, make sure you know you're done,' and I think he's definitely not there, so I know he'll want to catch on with someone. And I hope for his sake, he has something left, because I think he has a lot to offer."

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