Cubs agree to terms with OF Jason Heyward
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The Cubs and outfielder Jason Heyward have agreed to terms on an eight-year contract through the 2023 campaign.
Heyward, 26, joins the Cubs as a three-time Gold Glove Award winner and 2010 National League All-Star and Rookie of the Year runner-up who has qualified for the postseason in four of his first six major league campaigns with the Braves (2010-14) and Cardinals (2015). The left-handed batter and thrower has averaged 31 doubles, four triples, 19 home runs, 68 RBI, 72 walks and 17 stolen bases per 162 games, turning in a .268 batting average with a .353 on-base percentage, .431 slugging percentage and .784 OPS in 835 major league games.
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Heyward has consistently ranked as one of the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball. He won Gold Glove Awards in 2012, 2014 and 2015 and has made multiple top 10 finishes in outfield assists (including leading all right fielders in 2012 and 2014), putouts as a right fielder (first in 2012 and 2014), fielding percentage and defensive WAR.
Heyward set career highs in several offensive categories last year with St. Louis, including a .293 batting average, 33 doubles, 160 hits and 23 stolen bases in 154 games, his most since playing in a career-best 158 games in 2012. He posted a .359 on-base percentage, his best mark since his career-best .393 on-base percentage in his rookie season, while his .797 OPS was his best since 2012. His 6.5 WAR ranked fifth among all National League position players, and he captured his third Gold Glove in the last four years.
Selected by Atlanta in the first round (14th overall) of the 2007 draft, Heyward made his major league debut three years later, connecting for a three-run homer in his first-career plate appearance against the Cubs on Opening Day, April 5, 2010. His rookie campaign featured an All-Star selection, though he did not play due to injury, and an .849 OPS, the second-best OPS by a National League rookie since 2010 (behind only Kris Bryant’s .858 mark in 2015). Heyward was named NL Rookie of the Month in April and May and ranked fourth in the league with a .393 on-base percentage.
Heyward set a career high with 27 home runs, 82 RBI, 93 runs scored and six triples in 158 games with the Braves in 2012, also winning his first Gold Glove Award. He capped his Braves career in 2014 with another Gold Glove before being traded to St. Louis on Nov. 17, 2014 as part of the four-player deal that sent pitcher Shelby Miller to the Braves.
Born in Ridgewood, New Jersey, Heyward graduated from Henry County High School in McDonough, Georgia and turned down a scholarship from UCLA to sign with the Braves out of high school. Heyward’s father, Eugene, played basketball collegiately at Dartmouth University.