It’s a lost year for the Chicago Cubs.
The team entered the 2021 season with hopes of making one last run with its star core, but after a poor first half, Chicago decided to sell at the deadline.
Once that happened, the wheels fell off the wagon for the club, and things got ugly in a hurry.
Most Cubs fans are onto 2022.
But before we get there, the organization is going to have some work to do in the offseason.
Adding talent is going to be important for Chicago if it wants to contend next season, but there are also some players the team should think about moving on from.
Addition by subtraction is a very real thing.
Two players in particular come to mind in that regard.
Let’s see who they are.
2. Zach Davies
The Cubs will have a pretty straightforward decision on their hands this offseason when it comes to Zach Davies.
The 28-year-old joined the team prior to the 2021 season, and it has not worked out.
Since he’s set to become a free agent after the year ends, letting him walk in the offseason is the obvious choice.
I like Zach Davies, I really do, but he cannot be on #Cubs roster next year.
— Patrick Muller (@iowayow) September 5, 2021
Over 29 starts this season, the righty has a 5.16 ERA, 5.31 FIP, and 1.52 WHIP.
Command has been a big issue for Davis, as he leads the league in walks with 67.
If nothing else, he has been a good innings-eater for Chicago this season (he leads the league in starts), but his innings haven’t been quality ones.
The former 26th-round pick has had some really solid seasons in the past, and he’ll hope to re-establish himself with a new team in 2022.
It’ll be interesting to see what the market is like for him.
1. Jason Heyward
Jason Heyward is no longer a productive MLB player.
Since Deadline, when it made sense to re-sort playing time for eval/development purposes, Jason Heyward is playing nearly every day & hitting .261/.301/.362 w/77 wRC+. I get stature & contract. I don't hate the guy!
… but there's zero reason for him to be starting every day.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 6, 2021
Unfortunately, Chicago is married to him until 2024.
The two sides agreed to an eight-year deal worth $184 million before the 2016 season, and it hasn’t worked out for Chicago.
Hayward has posted an underwhelming slash line of.247/.326/.382 over six seasons since signing the contract.
He has managed a WAR of just 9.3 with the Cubs, giving him an average WAR of just 1.6 per season.
He has been disappointing by almost every measure.
To be fair, Chicago did win a World Series title in Hayward’s first year with the team, and the organization likely wouldn’t trade that for anything.
So we do have to keep that in mind.
However, on the whole, the deal has been a major disappointment.
Heyward’s contract situation makes it difficult to imagine a way for the Cubs to move on from him, but earlier in the summer, Al Yellon of SB Nation pointed out one possibility.
“What if (the Cubs) waited until the offseason and offered Heyward in trade and also offered to pick up the entire cost of the contract?” Yellon wrote. “As noted, they have to pay the money anyway, so why not try to send him to a team that might offer an A-ball lottery ticket in exchange for getting Heyward at the minimum salary?”
It’s a very interesting idea, and it doesn’t seem unrealistic.
No team wants to have dead money on its payroll, but that’s something the Cubs are going to have to live with if they want to part ways with Heyward.
Chicago has made it clear that it wants to return as a contender as soon as possible.
Hayward, who has a .619 OPS and 66 OPS+ this season, can’t be a part of the team’s plans if the Cubs want to get back to relevancy in 2022 or 2023.NEXT: Chicago Cubs Showing Life Again To Begin September