These three members of the Chicago Cubs organization deserve more playing time than outfielder Jason Heyward.
Jason Heyward continues to underperform for the Chicago Cubs. Signed prior to the 2016 season to a massive eight-year deal worth $184 million that’s still high even by 2022 standards, it’s one of those contracts that turned real ugly, real fast.
Heyward hit .230 in his first year with the Cubs only to continue to put up mediocre numbers in each year after. He’s reaching new lows in 2022, struggling to hit over .200. His defensive abilities are declining as well, making this penultimate season of his contract a rough one only about to feel more painful next season if he sticks around and isn’t designated for assignment first.
The Cubs may feel obligated to play Heyward regularly but they shouldn’t feel forced to. There are other players who deserve more playing time than him. We know exactly what Heyward can do. It’s time to see what these others can offer.
OF, Chicago Cubs
The Cubs should give Rafael Ortega more playing time than Jason Heyward
Rafael Ortega could turn into an intriguing trade piece for the Cubs this summer. His ability to play center field should intrigue teams looking for a little more outfield depth. He can also run and hit for decent enough power to get his bat in the lineup.
This season for the Cubs, Ortega has played all three outfield positions and also found himself as a DH on a regular basis. The Cubs may be fearful of exposing his weaknesses a little too much. Otherwise, the trade value he does have may quickly evaporate.
Ortega is already 31 and with his fifth major league team without yet reaching 1,000 MLB plate appearances. He had a promising 330 plate appearances last year with the Cubs, batting .291/.360/.463 with 11 home runs in the small sample. He has continued to play well this year, far exceeding the numbers Heyward has put up for Chicago.
To hopefully raise his trade value, Ortega needs to be in the lineup over Heyward. Luckily, the Cubs are finding ways to get him in there regularly even if Heyward is there, too.