St. Louis Cardinals: Four Ways to Cope with Loss of Jason Heyward

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Sep 9, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward (22) hits a RBI single against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

When Jason Heyward agreed to a 8-year, $184 million contract with the Chicago Cubs on Friday, the decision wasn’t an easy one for the St. Louis Cardinals to swallow.

Losing a three-time gold glove recipient to a crosstown rival certainly seems disheartening less than three months after Heyward produced the team’s largest single-season WAR value (6.5) since 2012.

However, the Cardinals have shown the ability to recover from big-name offseason departures in the past, most recently when three-time MVP Albert Pujols left the Gateway City for a 10-year, $254 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Staying focused under similar circumstances can help the Cardinals overcome the loss of Heyward, who is expected to become the first free agent position player to sign above $100 million dollars without triple-digit RBIs or runs scored in a single season.

Considering this history, the Cardinals have the ability to react in several different ways with plenty of free agents available and no shortages of trades this past month. In order to prepare for the future without Jason Heyward and compete for a fourth straight NL Central title, here are four offseason strategies for the to consider.