Hoyer: Heyward likely has played final game with Cubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Cubs president Jed Hoyer on Monday said the team won't bring back Jason Heyward for the final year of the biggest contract in franchise history.
Heyward, who signed an eight-year, $184 million free agent deal before the 2016 season, likely has played his final game as a Cub, said Hoyer, who expects him to remain on the injured list the remainder of the season.
Heyward has been on the IL since June 27 because of a knee injury.
After the season, "We'll go in our separate directions," said Hoyer, who has "talked a lot [with Heyward] about where things are going in the future."
That means releasing Heyward at the end of the season and eating the final year of salary on the deal.
"He'a been such a great pro with us and a leader," Hoyer said. "We want to have him around the team with us this year, but we're not going to have him with the team next year.
"We want to give him the full offseason to be able to go out and find an opportunity. And for us, given where we are as a group and where we're going to likely be in the corner outfield next year with Seiya [Suzuki] and Ian [Happ] we're going to move in a different direction."
Hoyer expressed a desire to maintain ties with Heyward after he's done playing, given his off-field and clubhouse influence.
Heyward, 32, earned two of his five career Gold Gloves in right field with the Cubs and was the leader of the famed rain-delay players meeting in the 10th inning of Game 7 before going on to win that 2016 World Series.
But he never came close to delivering offensively on the enormous contract, hitting just .245 with 62 home runs and a .700 OPS in 744 games as a Cub. That included bottoming out this year with a .204 average, seven extra-base hits (one homer) and .556 OPS in 48 games.