Jason Heyward Cites St. Louis Cardinals’ Age As Reason He Signed With Chicago Cubs

Outfielder Jason Heyward elected to sign with the Chicago Cubs rather than re-sign with the St. Louis Cardinals because of the Cardinals’ core players ages, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan.

The 26-year-old Heyward signed an eight-year, $184 million deal with the Cubs last week, ending his Cardinals tenure after just one season. Reports claimed that Heyward rejected offers of $200-plus million from other teams — including the Cardinals — for a chance to compete for multiple World Series titles in Chicago. As Heyward told reporters, including Sullivan, an aging core of players in St. Louis was the reason he left.

“You have Yadier (Molina), who is going to be done in two years maybe. You have Matt Holliday, who is probably going to be done soon. I felt like if I was to look up in three years and see a completely different team, that would kind of be difficult.”

Despite the likes of Molina, Holliday, and others being older and dealing with injuries, the Cardinals still finished with the best record in baseball, going 100-62 during the regular season. However, the Cardinals’ season came to an end in the NLDS, losing to the Cubs in four games. The series loss ended the Cardinals’ four-year stretch of NLCS appearances.

In 154 games for the 2015 Cardinals, Heyward hit.293 with 13 HR and 60 RBI. He also won his third Gold Glove. [Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images] In 154 games for the 2015 Cardinals, Heyward hit.293 with 13 HR and 60 RBI. He also won his third Gold Glove. [Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]Speaking to Rick Hummel of the St.Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny downplayed Heyward’s comments. Entering his fifth year as the Cardinals’ skipper, Matheny said he doesn’t believe the Cubs’ core to be significantly better than what St. Louis boasts.

“I don’t blame him. But I don’t like it. I don’t think we have anything to apologize for in having a group like a Holliday, a Molina, a Wainwright. … [H]e’s a young player. But I can’t say I’m in any kind of agreement with that (Chicago) core being better than any kind of core that we have.”

The offseason has not been kind so far to the Cardinals, either. Veteran starter John Lackey — who was a key component of the Cardinals’ roster last summer — signed a two-year, $32 million deal with the Cubs, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. The team also had extensive talks with top free agent starter David Price before he elected to sign a record-breaking megadeal with the Boston Red Sox.

The Cardinals also learned that 28-year-old starter Lance Lynn will miss all of 2016 due to Tommy John Surgery, per MLB.com. The loss of Lynn put the Cardinals into the starting pitchers’ market and they have yet to address that need.

Conversely, the Cubs have bolstered an already formidable team. In addition to adding Heyward, the team signed versatile switch-hitter Ben Zobrist to play second base.

Ben Zobrist signed with the Cubs and will likely serve as the team's new second baseman. [Doug Pensinger/Getty Images] Ben Zobrist signed with the Cubs and will likely serve as the team’s new second baseman. [Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]With those players aboard, the Cubs might arguably be trotting out the best lineup in baseball.

  1. Miguel Montero C
  2. Anthony Rizzo 1B
  3. Ben Zobrist 2B
  4. Addisson Russell SS
  5. Kris Bryant 3B
  6. Kyle Schwarber LF
  7. Jason Heyward CF
  8. Jorge Soler RF
  9. Pitcher

With Lackey signed, the Cubs’ rotation — which already features the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner — becomes considerably deeper.

    1. Jake Arrieta
    2. Jon Lester
    3. John Lackey
    4. Jason Hammel
    5. Kyle Hendricks

Heyward can opt-out of his contract not once, but twice. The first time he can do so is after 2018, the second being after 2019, as MLB Network’s Peter Gammons reported. But Heyward will be a Cub for at least three years and the team figures to be a contender in each of those years.

[Featured Image by David Banks/Getty Images]