Jason Heyward is off to the St. Louis Cardinals. The move without a doubt is mostly because the Atlanta Braves could not agree with Heyward on an extension before he hits free agency next year. John Hart knew he couldn't compete with 29 other teams in the open market for Heyward, so he traded him.
So what is Heyward worth? I've heard some people say that while the ceiling remains high, the power is down and we haven't see enough consistency, so how can we evaluate this guy financially?
You do it the same way you evaluate every other player, with comps. Heyward compares favorably with recent free-agent signing Jacoby Ellsbury, who signed with the Yankees for seven years and $153 million last off-season.
* age first season after free agency
We are smart enough to look past batting average. Ellsbury's home runs and slugging percentage are a little misleading when you consider his unusual 32 homers in 2011. Other than that, we are looking at similar offensive players, with Heyward rating better defensively.
So what is Heyward worth? At least $22 million a year, assuming he has his average season in 2015. Younger players don't make less than older ones in free agency, especially when the contract they are comparing themselves to will be two years old. Heyward will likely command $23-25 million per season in free agency. That might be be too rich for the Cardinals.