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#pounditSaturday, June 19, 2021

Mike Matheny not happy with Jason Heyward’s stated reason for leaving Cardinals


Jason Heyward’s reasoning for picking the Cubs over the Cardinals is not going down well within the St. Louis organization.

During his introductory press conference in Chicago, Heyward cited the Cubs’ young core as a major reason for going there, while at the same time noting that the Cardinals’ top players are getting older and older.

“You have Yadier [Molina] who is going to be done in two years maybe,” Heyward said. “You have Matt Holliday who is probably going to be done soon. There were already moves made with Jon Jay gone and then Tony Cruz and [Adam] Wainwright is probably going to be done in three or four years. Guys like that are what really introduced me to the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization. I felt like if I was to look up and in three years see a completely different team, that would be difficult.”

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny didn’t think much of that.

“I don’t think it’s going to ring too well with our club,” Matheny told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “If that is a big deal to him, he’s just being honest with people. But I don’t think we have anything to apologize for in having a group like a Holliday, a Molina, a Wainwright. Those are the kinds of guys everybody wants on a club.

“I see where he’s coming from. I mean, look at what Chicago’s done. It’s very unique in this game — to have that many impact players at that young age. And he’s a young player. But I can’t say I’m in any kind of agreement with that core being better than any kind of core that we have. That veteran group also helps drive what the younger group turns into. I don’t blame him. But I don’t like it. I thought we created a really good atmosphere and he had to weigh what was most important to him.”

Matheny has every right to stick up for his organization, and few clubs have had the success that the Cardinals have with that core over the last decade or so. The reality is, though, that the Cardinals are getting a bit older. Wainwright missed most of 2015 with injury, and Molina is dealing with one now. The Cubs already bested them in the playoffs, and if you asked anyone whose core you would want for the eight year duration of Heyward’s deal, most people would probably want the Cubs. Plus, there’s a definite allure to the prospect of being on the first Cubs team to take home a World Series title in over a hundred years, which is a goal that’s suddenly looking quite realistic. Despite their perennial contention, it’s been four years since the Cardinals won a championship, and there’s a case to be made that the Cubs have the roster more likely to win another one before St. Louis does.

The Cardinals are still a great organization, but sometimes there’s a better, more appealing fit for a player like Heyward. That’s just what happened here.


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