After the St. Louis Cardinals were unable to add to their club by landing a front line starting pitcher, I hope the team aims some of their financial resources at trying to sign rightfielder Jason Heyward to a contract extension before he hits the open market.
While there was some talk about having time to see how he fits in, there is really no reason to wait. Heyward is widely known as an excellent teammate and a person of exceptional character. I find it difficult to believe that he's not going to be embraced by the St. Louis clubhouse.
If the Redbirds wait until the end of the season to sign Heyward, the price is only going to go up. If St. Louis doesn't want to pay retail for talent, they need to double down on the gamble that sent cost controlled starting pitcher Shelby Miller to Atlanta and wager that Heyward will perform for the next five years like the player the club believes he'll be in 2015.
Would be a good deal for both sides to lock up Heyward through his age 31 season because he'll get a ton of financial security and he'll be able to hit the open market while he's still at the top of his game. The Cardinals, who only have two players under contract beyond the 2017 season -- Adam Wainwright for 2018 and Matt Carpenter through 2019 -- need to start thinking about establishing the next core of players that will replace Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday and Wainwright.
Signing Heyward will refill the talent pool that was drained by the tragic death of Oscar Taveras and the trade of Miller. Without an extension, both of those players could have been lost by the end of the 2015 season with only a draft pick to show for it. Plus, with those big name, big contract players coming off the books, the Cardinals will still have the payroll flexibility to acquire needs in other areas.
Heyward is a multi-demensional player who seems to define the type of talent the Cardinals crave: He can beat the opposition with his bat, his legs and his glove.
Plus, he says he wants to be here and he's open to an extension. So why not take him up on it?