The Chicago Cubs may have not made the MLB Playoffs in 2022, but they showed a ton of promise. The team finished in third place in the NL Central division and saw infielder Christopher Morel emerge as a cornerstone player. Chicago may not be as far off from competing as some people think it is.
With that being said, the Cubs are are going to be forced to make a few tough decisions in the upcoming offseason. Here's a look at three players that won't be returning to the team in 2023.
Chicago Cubs Offseason
1. Jason Heyward, OF
There's no speculation or rumors attached to this one. Cubs President Jed Hoyer announced last week that veteran outfielder Jason Heyward will not return in 2023 to play out the final year of his contract. He is owed $22 million and has no intentions of retiring yet, so Chicago will do its best to help him find a new home. The five-time Gold Glove winner has spent the last seven seasons with the Cubs and owns a slash line of .245/.323/.377 during that span. Heyward has also racked up 335 runs scored, 62 home runs and 289 RBI across 744 games played in Chicago. Injuries have limited him to just 48 games played in 2022, though.
2. Willson Contreras, C
It was surprising to see catcher Willson Contreras remain a Cub past the MLB trade deadline and it would be even more surprising to see him back with the team in 2023. The three-time All-Star has spent his entire career with the organization and played a key role on the 2016 World Series team. The simple fact is that he is 30 years old and will draw a ton of interest in free agency. Outbidding every other interested team to keep him around doesn't exactly fit into the Cubs' rebuilding plan. Two of the team's top 16 prospects are catchers and veteran Yan Gomes is under contract one more year to serve as a mentor. Contreras is set to finally say goodbye.
3. Wade Miley, SP
Starting pitcher Wade Miley was always viewed as a stopgap option for the Cubs this season and that hasn't changed with the offseason soon arriving. It doesn't help that the 12-year pro only appeared in nine games this season due to various elbow and shoulder issues. He logged a respectable 3.16 ERA and 1.22 WHIP across 37.0 innings, but was outshined by another veteran hurler. Drew Smyly posted a 7-8 record and logged a 3.47 ERA to go along with a 1.19 WHIP across 22 starts (106.1 innings). Smyly makes much more sense as an experienced pro to bring back and guide an otherwise young rotation. That leaves Miley to fend for himself on the free agent market.
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