Free agent outfielder Jason Heyward is likely to remain with the Saint Louis Cardinals.
In one of our stronger opinions, four of the six TBOH staffers chose Saint Louis to retain the services of the outstanding glove man. Those four were Ryan Gerstel, Tyler DiSalle, Ethan Witte, and David Mosemann. I went out on a limb with the Minnesota Twins, while Alexis Girardo chose the Boston Red Sox for him.
Our resident salary speculator, Ethan believes that it will take a “10-year, $200 million deal with an out-clause after five” in order to re-sign Heyward. Ryan believes “there will be a huge market for Heyward, but the Cardinals are a smart organization and will likely not let the 26-year old walk.”
Ryan also speculated on something that has been mentioned here at TBOH previously by Ethan, that Heyward could be attractive to the Phillies. “The Phillies are a team that, while rebuilding, should heavily inquire about Heyward, because he is young and would instantly become a cornerstone for years to come.“
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Heyward turned 26-years old back at the beginning of August, so he will play at that age for most of the 2016 campaign. Actually born in northern New Jersey, he was the Atlanta Braves selection with the 14th overall pick in the 1st round of the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft out of Henry County High School in Georgia.
He rose incrementally through the Atlanta minors system over the next few years to become the top prospect in the game prior to the 2010 season according to both MLB.com and Baseball America. He would break camp as a starter that season in Atlanta, made the NL All-Star team, and finished as a narrow runner-up for the NL Rookie of the Year Award to Buster Posey.
In 2012, Heyward won his first of three career Gold Glove Awards, and slugged 27 homers to go along with 21 stolen bases. He is considered one of the very best right field glove men in the entire game.
However, something has always been missing from Heyward’s offensive game. He has a career slash line of just ..268/.353/.431 over six seasons, with 97 homers, 352 RBI, 446 runs scored, and 86 stolen bases. Offensively, he is good, not great. That mediocre bat is something any suitor is going to have to strongly consider when deciding to shell out $200 million for a decade.
There are a number of teams that have been speculated on with Heyward, with most sources feeling the Cards have to be considered the leaders. Others include the Red Sox, Yankees, Giants, Mariners, White Sox, Orioles, and both LA teams in the Dodgers and Angels.
Not just here, but by other sources, the Phillies have been speculated on as a possible realistic landing spot for Heyward. He could be just the type of player to pursue as a longterm piece with which they could begin to push their rebuilding plan forward a bit more aggressively, if they so choose.