Jason Heyward is going to get $20 million per year, isn’t he?
Will it be from the St. Louis? It doesn’t *seem* like a Cardinal thing to do–paying one man roughly the same as these three will make in 2016: Jhonny Peralta ($12.5M), Lance Lynn ($7.5M), and Matt Carpenter ($6.5M).
If that number seems outlandish, consider the *other* numbers that separate Heyward from most of the free agents past:
26 It’s not often a bona fide player enters free agency at an age that doesn’t portend the club having to pay for his decline years during deal’s back end
3 Heyward is 3rd among all MLB players under 30 years old in Career Defensive WAR (Wins Above Replacement), behind Andrelton Simmons and Lorenzo Cain. We’ve learned to value a run prevented just as much as a run created–and this Cardinals team is Exhibit A. (If you’re not sold on these newfangled defensive stats, know that Yadier Molina is 2nd among that active career WAR list, only to Adrian Beltre.)
Consider the last productive Birds OF to hit free agency-Carlos Beltran. He corraled ‘just’ 15M/yr, but he was one number from Heyward’s age of 26: 36.
Just last year, 28-year-old Pablo Sandoval secured 5/$96, despite being out of shape and not having a plus glove. The Panda was coming off a .323 wOBA and 3.1 WAR last winter, while Heyward currently sits at .334 wOBA and 4.8 WAR pace.
And lastly, if you’re inclined to get excited over small samples, check Heyward vs LHPs this year:
Just a few years removed from the Albert Pujols saga, it looks like the Cardinals will again have to decide if they want to commit $20-25 million for one player.