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Cubs’ Jason Heyward says ‘I’ll rock that badge’ of maligned contract

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Heyward says ‘I’ll rock that badge’ of maligned contract initially appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Jason Heyward heard the naysayers and critics nearly from the second he signed a Cubs-record $184-million, eight-year contract a number of months earlier than the Cubs opened the 2016 curse-busting season — the critics getting solely louder as he did not dwell as much as the offensive finish of the deal that sum promised.

Bad contract? Bust?

“Well, I feel like I’m a very fortunate person to be in a select group of players that earn bad contracts, because there’s a lot of bad contracts out there, if that’s how we’re looking at it, right?” he mentioned Thursday as he met with the media for the primary time since final month’s announcement that the Cubs will launch him from the ultimate yr of the contract after the season.

“But to be able to show the value of myself as a person in probably one of the toughest times I’ve had on the the field and off the field in 2016, to still show I’m here for the team, to still play defense the way I play defense, run the bases and just to step in and step up at multiple times when I was needed to be who I am, to be Jason Heyward …

“We still got a ring, and it took every bit of that from me,” he mentioned. “It took that group. There was no other group that was going to get that done. So that’s fine. I understand why people say ‘bad contract’ and this and that. But I know I also had my hand in a lot of winning baseball here on the North Side of Chicago.”

In truth, it’s that worth as an individual, teammate, and behind-the-scenes function mannequin that present and former teammates say contributed to an unprecedented run of six consecutive successful seasons for the Cubs, together with the 2016 World Series championship, at the same time as he struggled on the sphere.

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“We don’t win that championship without him,” mentioned supervisor David Ross, a teammate on that 2016 workforce and in Atlanta earlier than that.

That doesn’t imply the Cubs received what they paid for the final seven years.

Heyward produced a seven-year complete of simply 6.8 WAR, in accordance with baseball-reference.com (8.5 in accordance with fangraphs.com) after a 6.3 WAR single season with the Cardinals main into free company.

But if the largest contract in franchise historical past is the dangerous contract even Heyward appears to acknowledge,  is it the worst in franchise historical past?

Probably not.

It arguably isn’t even the worst one Theo Epstein gave out throughout his 9 years working the workforce.

That’s solely in small half as a result of of the well-known Game 7 rain-delay assembly he referred to as earlier than the Cubs rallied to complete off their first championship in 108 years.

And by no means thoughts pitcher Edwin Jackson’s four-year, $52 million deal for a three-year stretch throughout which he was statistically the worst beginning pitcher within the league earlier than shifting to the bullpen — ultimately getting launched midway by his third season, with a minus-3.5 WAR to indicate for his Cubs profession.

RELATED: Jason Heyward’s lasting moment one of Cubs’ biggest ever

Epstein’s worst free agent contract whereas working the Cubs was arguably the three-year, $38 million deal he gave Tyler Chatwood to reinforce the rotation in 2018 with the Cubs showing to be on the top of their aggressive window, coming off a 3rd straight National League Championship Series — for the dearth of any return (unfavourable WAR as a Cubs starter) and the actual fact it compelled the Cubs to commerce for Cole Hamels and pay $20 million extra to train his possibility for 2019.

With the Cubs’ payroll on the luxurious tax threshold, that added insult and monetary damage to the group’s failure to develop pitching and successfully marked the speedy decline of that core’s aggressive timeline.

Heyward’s deal price much more, for extra years, however he stuffed an enormous defensive want distinctive to the opposite bidders on the time for a Cubs workforce with a collective sieve within the outfield and made others round him higher even when he didn’t ship for himself within the lineup.

“The contract is the contract,” Heyward mentioned. “I feel like it’s very hard to outplay certain contracts, especially one like that one. But not even thinking that way. I just wanted to win.”

Heyward, who turned down 10-year, $200 million affords from the Cardinals and Nationals to signal with the Cubs, mentioned there have been instances after becoming a member of the Cubs when he discovered himself getting “lost in what makes you stand out as a player” as he tried to slot in with a brand new teaching employees and workforce.

“I think that’s probably the toughest thing I had along with just wanting to win for this fan base,” he mentioned.

That was the underside line, he mentioned. That effort.

“I can’t say that the contract was that much pressure,” he mentioned. “Did it bring more attention? Sure. I guess there’s less people that can relate to you instantly, right? But I have so much respect for that and understanding as someone who was a baseball fan growing up, on the other side of that.

“So, no. It’s been an honor to wear that contract here,” Heyward added. “Any failure that we had

as a corporation, I perceive being a component of that goes with me, at all times and endlessly.

“But I’ll rock that badge.”

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