Chicago Cubs: 5 moves that made the Cubs afraid to spend in free agency

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Heyward was coming off a season where he batted 0.293 with 13 home runs and 60 runs batted in for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cubs came close to reaching the World Series for the first time since 1945 in the 2015 season but were swept by the New York Mets. The thought was that the Cubs were missing a productive bat in their lineup that would take them to the next level.

Shortly after the 2014 World Series, Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for the final year of his contract. In 2015, Heyward put up the best numbers of his career, slashing 0.293/0.359/0.439 with 13 home runs, 60 runs batted in, and 33 doubles.

The Cubs came calling in the 2015 offseason and inked Heyward to an eight-year deal worth $184 million. At the time, it seemed like a great move, especially considering the season Heyward just had that saw him produce a wins-above-replacement (WAR) value of 5.6. However, his first year with the Cubs in 2016 could not have gone worse. Heyward slashed a miserable 0.230/0.306/0.325 with seven home runs and 61 runs batted in. He had a WAR of just 1.0.

Now that being said, he did deliver one of the best speeches that arguably propelled the Cubs to win their first World Series championship since 1908, so fans were able to accept his 2016 stats. Shortly after the World Series celebration died down, Heyward purchased a home in Arizona and changed his swing in hopes that it would produce better numbers in 2017.

The new swing produced marginally better results as he slashed 0.259/0.326/0.389 with 11 home runs and 59 runs batted in, again with a WAR of just 1.0 in 2017. These stats certainly were falling short of what a guy with a $184 million contract should be producing. In the 2017 offseason, Heyward (again) changed his swing and (again) produced marginally better results in 2018.

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He is off to a good start so far in 2019, but he has fallen short of what fans were expecting they would be getting from Heyward at the plate. His defense is never in question as he’s won multiple Gold Gloves, but the Cubs are not paying him a ton of money to be a defensive replacement.