Last night, the St. Louis Cardinals hosted their fifth annual blogger event at the ballpark. However, being relatively new to the blogging scene, this was only my second one in attendance. As usual, it was a tremendous event capped off by the Cardinals sweeping the Reds in two hours and two minutes. The evening started at precisely 5:30 PM in the Busch Stadium Conference Center where team president Bill DeWitt III and and senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager John Mozeliak were made available for opening statements followed by a question and answer session.
Of course, plenty of quality topics were touched on during the Q&A session, from a possible phase two of Ballpark Village to moving forward from the Oscar Taveras tragedy to the organization's relationship with the St. Louis Blues, but to be completely honest, I was most interested in the question by Dan Buffa of CardinalsFarm, on the status of Jason Heyward extension talks. Here is what Mozeliak had to say:
"The way we sort of started this whole relationship was with no timetables, and frankly, I think that’s the best way to do this. Because whenever you put these deadlines on things, a lot of times you can end up irritating one side or the other. In this case, I really felt like this was one where he needed to experience St. Louis, he needed to experience what this city’s all about. You look at the success we’ve had at acquiring talent via trade and then retaining it is because they get to be a part of this.
When the regular media would ask me this question [about Heyward back in spring training], I’d say, 'Well, he still hasn’t spent a day in St. Louis, so frankly, he hasn’t gotten to experience that.' That has happened now, but I still don’t envision a timetable that’s going to be overly aggressive at this point…And so my hope is probably when we get around midseason or so, we’ll have time to at least be on equal footing where we see this possibly heading. I’m going to be patient. He and his agent are going to be patient. And right now, I think that’s a good place to be."
What can be made of Mozeliak's comments on a possible Heyward extension? Not much other than that it is something he plans on addressing with Heyward and his agent around the midseason mark. Of course, there exists a group of people, with the front office of the Cardinals possibly included, who want to see if Heyward can first perform (both offensively and defensively) to a level worthy of an expensive long-term extension. This is a completely reasonable viewpoint as long as the price of the free agent market is taken into consideration as well.
Through 48 plate appearances (a very small sample size), his slash line has significant room for improvement at .213/.229/.362. To be fair to the 6'5" Gold Glove right fielder, the Cardinals are only 11 games into the 2015 season, and Heyward is rightfully still gaining comfort with a new environment along with new teammates. Given the hype surrounding his acquisition, I would not be surprised if he is pressing a little bit, as shown by the fact that he has worked only one walk thus far in 2015 (career BB% of 11.0%). Here is to hoping Heyward is able to build on performances like the one he had against Homer Bailey and the Reds two days ago: