Heyward ready to make history with Cubs

The Associated Press
David Banks / Getty Images Sport / Getty

CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs officially announced the signing of prized free agent outfielder Jason Heyward on Tuesday, adding a three-time Gold Glove winner in their continuing makeover to build a World Series contender.

The Cubs introduced Heyward at Spiaggia Restaurant, one of President Barack Obama's favorites, after agreeing to a $184 million, eight-year contract last week. The signing of Heyward is the latest in a series of big moves as the Cubs try to bring home the franchise's first championship since 1908.

"It'd be a beautiful thing to win a World Series for one," Heyward said while donning his new No. 22 Cubs jersey. "It's a no-brainer that it would be making history here."

(Courtesy: MLB.com)

Chicago won 97 games last season and knocked out NL Central rivals Pittsburgh and St. Louis before getting swept by the New York Mets in the NLCS.

Since then, the Cubs have also added pitchers John Lackey and Adam Warren along with infielder Ben Zobrist. Lackey, like Heyward, left the rival Cardinals for the Cubs and figures to be Chicago's No. 3 starter behind NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester.

"As far as recruiting they didn't have to do too much," he said. "They basically let the product on the field speak for itself."

CONTRACT BREAKDOWN

Year Salary Notes
2016 $15M Full no-trade
2017 $21.5M Full no-trade
2018* $21.5M Full no-trade
2019* $20M 12-team no-trade
2020 $21M 12-team no-trade
2021 $21M

*Opt-out after 2018; Conditional opt-out after 2019 (550 PAs)

The Cubs also are counting on Heyward to help solidify their outfield, whether they keep him in right field or move him to center. If Heyward plays right, they could try to trade Jorge Soler for a pitcher or center fielder.

"I'm perfectly fine with playing center field or right field, whatever's going to be best for the team," he said.

Despite his lack of power - Heyward's only 20-homer season came back in 2012 - the two-way talent is one of just eight players to compile 80 homers, 80 steals, and an OBP above .350 over the last six seasons. His 12.7 wins above replacement since the beginning of 2014 are the fifth most in baseball among position players.

Heyward's deal calls for a $20-million signing bonus, payable in four $5 million installments each April 1 from 2024-27.

- With files from theScore