1 contract Chicago would definitely like to erase soon

The Chicago Cubs succeeded in reducing payroll during the offseason, but there’s one particularly bad contract they’d like to get out of.

The Chicago Cubs made it clear they’d reduce payroll. By trading Yu Darvish, non-tendering Kyle Schwarber, not re-signing Jon Lester, etc., they got it done pretty well. According to Spotrac, they now have the 12th-highest payroll in baseball for 2021.

The top of the Cubs’ payroll has players entering the final year of their contracts (Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo) or as a practical matter entering the final year of their deal (Craig Kimbrel). Another, Willson Contreras, is slated for free agency after the 2022 season. Pitcher Kyle Hendricks is under contract through 2024, so any idea of trading him would just be a future payroll offload.

But the Cubs have a huge contract on the books they continue to regret.

The Cubs are paying Jason Heyward how much?

Before the 2016 season, the Cubs signed outfielder Jason Heyward to an eight-year, $184 million contract. He could have opted out after the 2018 season. But there’s no way he would have found a five-year deal, let alone one that would’ve paid him over $20 million a year. So he didn’t opt out. The Cubs will pay him $21 million this year, and a total of $65 million over the next three years.

In four full, normal seasons with the Cubs to this point, Heyward has topped 11 home runs and 50 RBI once (21 and 62 in 2019). The only time in five seasons he has posted an OPS over .775 was last year’s short season (.848 OPS in 50 games). Gold Glove-caliber defense had been a saving grace, but that’s mostly gone as he enters his age-32 season.

To facilitate a trade, the Cubs would probably gladly include some money just to avoid the entire $65 million due to Heyward from here through 2023. And it’s still unlikely anyone would trade for an expensive platoon player (.167 against left-handers last year).

So the Cubs are left to hope a hot streak creates an opportunity to move Heyward for anything of value. Otherwise, they’ll just count the days until he’s off the payroll. But as Spotrac noted, his $20 million signing bonus was fully deferred to four $5 million payments each April 1 from 2024-2027.

Source: FanSided

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