Three months ago Jason Heyward and the Chicago Cubs agreed to part ways after the season.
The move became official Monday when the Cubs granted Heyward his unconditional release. The 33-year-old outfielder is owed $22 million for 2023, the final year of the eight-year, $184 million contract he signed before the 2016 season. Heyward also will receive four $5 million installments on April 1, 2024-27, as part of his initial signing bonus.
Heyward indicated in late September he wants to play elsewhere next season while acknowledging those plans might not come to fruition.
“I appreciate they’re real, I appreciate being able to have that,” Heyward said Sept. 29. “It’s tough when you don’t have those things, showing up for any job or living life, if people were kind of blowing smoke and not keeping it real with you.
“That’s something that people don’t always understand is how you handle failure. There’s a lot of accolades throughout my career, a lot of special things happened here with this team. A lot of failure too. It’s not always easy to deal with, but there’s been a lot of good things that have come my way from a lot of people expressing that to me, and I feel like that comes from how I’ve handled everything.”
Heyward ends his seven seasons in Chicago with a .245/.323/.406 slash line, 86 OPS+, 8.9 WAR, two Gold Glove awards and a World Series title. His presence will last beyond his final game with the Cubs through his charitable work in the community.
The Cubs have 33 players on their 40-man roster after Heyward’s departure, providing ample space to add players by Tuesday’s deadline to protect eligible minor-leaguers from the Rule 5 draft.