By Ruben Gomez
Although he’s only hit over 20 home runs or more in a single season once, Jason Heyward has also never finished higher than 15th in the MVP voting race. The latest centerfield addition to the Chicago Cubs can still live up to all the hype and expectations by continuing to be a reliable, consistent, and solid player.
Jason Heyward’s eight year $184 million contract is the largest in franchise history and also takes a big toll on Heyward as he is expected to be the face of the team and leader on the field. However, irony says otherwise, rookie of the year Kris Bryant, MVP candidate Anthony Rizzo, and Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta can all help carry the team and contribute to another postseason run. With this much talent on the team including upcoming stars such as Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler, Heyward’s move comes at the perfect time for him. He’s not required to be the face of the franchise even though he signed an eight-year, $184 million deal.
“Transitions are always difficult for everyone,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said recently. “He’s transitioning to another team and different expectations. With Jason we feel exceptionally confident. He’s an elite player who does so many things on the field to help teams win.”
How can Heyward live up to expectations? It actually starts with defense. He is being asked to move from right field (where he’s won three Gold Gloves) to center. The Cubs wanted to improve their outfield defense after a poor showing in the postseason. “I’m going to have a blast playing some center field, if that’s what I end up playing every day,” Heyward said after signing his contract in December.
By: Ruben Gomez