Newly signed Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward took the high road over the weekend when asked about critical comments made by his former manager and teammates in St. Louis after he said he chose to sign with the Cubs in large part because of the Cubs young core vs. an aging Cardinals core.
“Everybody has their opinions and they’ve got a right to make them,” said Heyward, 26, who signed an eight-year, $184-million deal. “At the end of the day, nobody had a decision other than me. At the end of the day it’s my decision, and that’s the bottom line.”
Cards manager Mike Matheny said after hearing Heyward’s reasoning said he respected the Gold Glove right fielder but added: “I don’t think it’s going to ring too well with our club. … I can’t say I’m in any kind of agreement with that core being better than any kind of core that we have.”
Cards pitcher Adam Wainwright during a radio interview called Heyward a great teammate, then added: “It really comes down to a personality trait to me. The person that we want to give that kind of money to, that big money to, he needs to be a person that wants to be the guy that carries the torch. … There’s nothing wrong with [Heyward’s rationale]. But we’re looking for that guy who wants to be the man.”
Heyward said teammates from that season in St. Louis remain his friends and facing them “will be like playing against your brother. You love them to death off the field, and it’s going to be great to see them. It’s going to make it that much more fun when you get to play against them  times out of the year.”
If anything, it was a segment of the Cardinals fan base that vigorously, and at times viciously, lashed out at Heyward through social media when he turned down the Cardinals for the Cubs.
“People are entitled to making their opinions and feel any kind of way,” he said. “Fans are fans, and that’s part of it for them. That’s all they can do is react to things that happen with the players or with teams and things like that. We kind of hold them hostage when it comes to winning a ballgame or losing a ballgame. They’re going to be happy one way and they’re going to be sad the other.”