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One way or another this Heyward deal needs to be wrapped up soon

What in the name of Rogers Hornsby’s ghost could possibly be taking so long in the effort to sign Jason Heyward?

I mean what could there possibly be to talk about?

Heyward has been linked to the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Anaheim Angels and Washington Nationals for days. This shouldn’t be a free for all. With the winter meetings in the rear view mirror, we ought to be well past the point of teams making their final proposals and the player choosing where he wants to spend the bulk of his remaining career.

Does the fact that this has linger on mean that the offers are close and that Heyward can’t make up his mind? Does it mean that Heyward prefers to play for one team more than the others and he’s hoping that they’ll come around and match the best offer? Or could it mean that the talk of $200-million suitors is overblown and he’s still waiting for his price?

This reminds me of when Cardinals fans agonized for weeks over whether Matt Holliday would ink a deal to remain in St. Louis or if he’d be wooed away from higher bidders in New York or Los Angeles.

It wasn’t until much later that Holliday admitted that, while the Mets were rumored to be offering to beat any Cardinals offer and the Yankees might make Holliday a proposal he couldn’t refuse that he hold told his agent to field as many offers as he could -- but in the end that he wanted to end up with the Cardinals.

The Redbirds have an unfortunate streak lately of finishing second in free agent bidding. Most players, it turns out, aren’t like Holliday. They don’t care about the color of the uniform the end up wearing. They just want the most dollars they can get.

Time will tell if Heyward, like Holliday, fell in love with being a Cardinal. But the longer this lingers on, the less likely that seems to be true.

Meanwhile, if Heyward signs elsewhere the Cardinals might find out too late to make another move.

While St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak waits for thumbs up or thumbs down from Heyward’s camp, virtually every pitcher of consequence has come off the free agent board.

It made a lot of sense in my mind for the Cardinals to go the free agent route this off-season to fix its holes when they’re flush with the cash of a new billion-dollar TV deal. At least then they wouldn’t have to part with valuable talent in trades.

One way or another, this Heyward issue needs to be solved soon.