Outfielder Jason Heyward left the Hatfields for the McCoys — or something close to that — as the 26-year-old signed an 8-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. Heyward, who spent just one season with Chicago’s most reviled rival, the St. Louis Cardinals, will play center field in Chicago. The Cubs will be his third team — Heyward spent five years with the Atlanta Braves, where he hit a career-high 27 home runs in 2012.
It will not be a warm welcome back for Heyward when the Cubs roll into St. Louis next season. Heyward hit a career high .293 for the Cards last year — and it’s reasonable to assume he might be part of the Cardinals future. The New Jersey native and two-time Gold Glove winner is nicknamed J-Hey or the J-Hey Kid, a nod to Willie Mays, the legendary “Say Hey Kid.” ESPN reports that Heyward will make $184 million on the 8-year contract. FYI: In 1966 Willie Mays became the highest paid player in baseball at $133,000 a year.