At first, it looked like the St. Louis Cardinals messed up big time when they traded for Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward.
The Cardinals couldn’t be blamed for pushing a panic button, however. They had just lost prize prospect Oscar Taveras to a car accident, and the Cardinals needed to put someone in the outfield.
The problem was Heyward got off to a cold start. That start may be a thing of the past.
But is it enough to consider Heyward for a long-term contract?
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Heyward has warmed up his game as the summer months arrived, to the point where he is closing June with a .329-4-14 mark and 28 hits. The best part is Heyward will be 26 in August.
I think the Cardinals should make a bid to keep Heyward following this season.
The outfield list for the 2016 free agents look like slim pickings when it comes to free agents under 30. The youngest name on the list, Justin Upton, is 27 years old and enjoying a renaissance year with the San Diego Padres. He is hitting .272-14-46 in the final year of a six-year, $51.5 million contract.
What type of deal would Heyward command? Keep in mind Matt Holliday‘s $120 million deal comes off the books following 2016, so that will free up some money. The Cardinals also need to have some money for their top pitchers down the line, but Heyward may like it enough to stay and take a little less off the table.
If Heyward says he wants to go somewhere and win a championship, he won’t find a better place to win it than St. Louis.
Heyward could still slump in the second half, but for now he has earned a chance at a nice contract following the season.