Last night, the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in game two of the World Series. With a good outing from reigning CY Young Award winner Jake Arrieta and a productive night offensively, the Cubs were able to tie up the series at a game a piece. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez have led the way for the Cubs this postseason; however, their biggest free agent signing has had little to no impact on their postseason success. Jason Heyward has been disappointing all year long, but in particular, he has been horrific in the postseason.
The Regression Of Jason Heyward
Big Contract, Big Expectations
The Cubs agreed to an eight-year, $184 million deal with Heyward to bring the outfielder to the Windy City. Heyward was considered the best player on the free agent market, and one of the better outfielders in all of baseball. The Cubs believed that they would be getting the elite outfielder that they’d seen in years past.
The Heyward of Old
In his time with the Atlanta Braves, and during his brief tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals, Heyward was considered one of the best outfielders in all of baseball. Most notably, he was an elite fielder and was capable of getting on base. While not a great hitter, Heyward could produce well. Last season, Heyward hit .293, and got on base at a good clip, and made things happen; he stole 23 bases. Heyward is an elite defensive outfielder. He has a great arm, and there’s no ball that he can’t get to in the field; however, this season, Heyward’s struggles at the plate have been hard to fathom.
Heyward’s 2016 Struggles
This season, Jason Heyward has been a shell of himself. It’s unclear what has happened to him, but he’s been lost at the plate all year long. He hit just .230, stole only 11 bases, and was essentially a non-factor for this Cubs team in the regular season, but he’s been even more of a disappointment in the postseason. In his thirty plate appearances this October, Heyward has only two hits, resulting in his .067 playoff batting average.
Heyward’s struggles at the plate have forced manager Joe Maddon to bench him, especially against lefties. It’s also become clear that the Cubs have little to no confidence in Heyward, given the fact that he did not start in the first two games of the World Series. Heyward’s inability to produce at the plate, and the Cubs lack of trust in him, makes him the worst signing of the free agent period.
Jason Heyward has been one of the premier outfielders in all of baseball the last few years, but this year he has become a shell of himself. His inability to get on base and produce have made him a liability to this Cubs team.