CHICAGO – When they captured the championship with a dramatic Game 7 victory in Cleveland in November of 2016, there was a thought that it would be the start of a long-lasting dynasty.

While the Cubs certainly had success after that, the core that was built by Theo Epstein and the Cubs’ front office starting in late 2011 never got back to the World Series. Over time, it’s been slowly dismantled in hopes of building a new-look team and opening a new competitive window.

Part of that included two moves that were expected but became official this week:

  • Jason Heyward was granted his unconditional release with one year left on his contract.
  • Willson Contreras rejected his qualifying offer from the Cubs and will now play elsewhere starting in 2023.

Because of that, only one player that was on the 2016 World Series championship team remains with the franchise.

Starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks is the only one left on the Cubs from that season as he enters the fourth and final year of his contract. There is a $16 million club option for the 2024 season as well.

The MLB ERA leader and National League Cy Young finalist in 2016 just completed his ninth year with the Cubs and arguably the most difficult. Hendricks pitched in just 16 games this season due to a capsular tear in his right shoulder that knocked him out of the rotation in early July.

He was up and down during the time that he did take the mound, going 4-6 with a 4.80 ERA with 66 strikeouts compared to 24 walks.