The news St. Louis Cardinals’ fans have been dreading all winter long has arrived, Jason Heyward is no longer a Cardinal.
According to Jon Heyman the Cubs have officially outbid the St. Louis Cardinals for the services of free agent and now former Cardinals’ RF Jason Heyward. Even with contract details not out yet Heyward is now likely one of the highest paid players in baseball, whether you agree with what the Cubs will pay for him or not, he is going to be an interesting player to watch over the next few years. Will be live up to the contract or be yet another overpay by the big spenders?
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Heyward had a statistically interesting year and is a bit of a champion for the Sabermetric era. Heyward’s WAR of 6.0 was second best among all RF to Bryce Harper. But, at the same time he had a sub .800 OPS and only had 13 homers and 60 RBI. However, Heyward was one of two of the top RF to post positive values at defense and base running as well as chipping in a wRC+ of 121 putting him 8th among all RF (according to Fangraphs).
Heyward had been courted by several clubs this winter with the Cubs, Cardinals, Natinoals, and Angels being considered as the finalists before the Cubs won the bidding. Twitter was quite the firestorm in the moments leading up to the signing, with numerous people arguing about Heyward’s value. No matter your thoughts on his value, this hurts, it sucks losing him to the Cubs of all teams.
While signing Heyward would have been nice, I wrote earlier on about how Heyward really wasn’t a necessity for this team, given the outfield depth this team has. The team will likely now turn their pursuit towards a free agent starting pitcher now, to shore up the innings lost from the loss of Lance Lynn and John Lackey. Ultimately, this move will not affect the Cardinals’ ability to contend next season and the Cardinals reportedly now have their sights set on Alex Gordon according to Bob Nightengale.
This move does give the team flexibility to potentially take on a bigger contract via the trade market. With the TV money coming in and the contracts coming off of the books in the next few years, the team should have no problem locking up talent like Carlos Martinez, Randal Grichuk, and Michael Wacha. With a successful season from Matt Holliday in 2016, this would also set the club up well to exercise his option for 2017.
Fear not Cardinals’ faithful, this team will be fine for next season and won’t be relinquishing that NL Central title without a fight.