Slugger Jason Heyward has decided to sign with the Chicago Cubs, spurning advances by the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals, CBS Sports MLB Insider Jon Heyman confirmed Friday. The deal is for eight years and $184 million and includes two opt-outs -- after the third year and the fourth, if he exceeds a plate-appearance threshold.
Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Tribune reported the deal first. Earlier, a report by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that Heyward decided against re-signing with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Washington Nationals also fell out of the running after offering Heyward a deal in the $200 million range, Heyman reported. It has been reported that Heyward was seeking a deal in the range of 8-10 years for $20 million to $24 million per season.
Heyward is the second player in free agency the Cubs have swiped from the Cardinals, already having signed right-hander John Lackey to a two-year contract. The Cards still could pursue other free agents on the board such as Chris Davis and Mike Leake.
Heyward, 26, is coming off a 2015 season for the Cardinals in which he batted .293/.359/.439 with 13 home runs and 23 steals in 26 attempts. He also claimed his third career Gold Glove. Across parts of six big-league seasons for the Braves and Cardinals, Heyward owns an OPS+ of 114. In each of the past two seasons, Heyward has eclipsed 6.0 WAR, with a lot of his value coming on defense.