Heyward agrees with Cubs on 8-year $184-million contract

Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire

Jason Heyward has reached an long-term contract deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to multiple published reports.

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported Friday afternoon that the deal is for eight years and $184 million, and contains two places where he can opt out of the deal. Those are believed to be after the third and fourth years.

Heyward hit .293/.359/.439 for the St. Louis Cardinals last season, and also won his third Gold Glove in the past four years for his play in right field. The Cardinals were considered the favorites to sign him, but he chose to be the latest player to join Theo Epstein’s off-season bonanza.

Epstein has added Heyward and Ben Zobrist to a lineup that already included Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell, while John Lackey joins Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester in the starting rotation.

Because of the two opt-out clauses in the contract, the Cubs are getting Heyward at significantly under market value. In the last five seasons, the 26-year-old has averaged 5.0 WAR. With each win going for about $7M on this winter’s market, an eight-year deal for Heyward would have been expected to come in at over $250 million. By giving him shots at free agency when he’s 29 and 30, and almost certainly front-loading the contract, the Cubs have worked out a way to get Heyward at an affordable price even as he enters his prime.

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