January 17, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) Now that Jason Heyward has joined the St. Louis Cardinals, he's open to sticking around for a while.

Heyward was traded from Atlanta to St. Louis in mid-November. The 25-year-old outfielder is set to make $7.8 in the last season of his contract.

''For me, I hope I love it so much I won't have to leave,'' Heyward said at the Cardinals' fan convention, where he signed autographs Saturday.

''That's the way you want to love your job. I love the game of baseball. For me, I'm always going to go out there and give 110 percent. I feel like if I love it that much, it's a good fit,'' he said.

Atlanta decided he was not going to be a good fit. The Braves dealt the former first-round pick to be sure to get something in return in case he became a free agent.

St. Louis needed a right fielder after top prospect Oscar Taveras was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic shortly after the season ended. The Cardinals traded pitcher Shelby Miller and minor league pitcher Tyrell Jenkins to the Braves for Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden.

Heyward hit .271 last season with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs. He led off for most of last season but also batted fifth.

Heyward is regarded as one of the top defensive outfielders in baseball and got his second Gold Glove last season.

The deal, he was, didn't shock him.

''I wasn't surprised. If I was traded, I knew I could end up anywhere,'' Heyward said. ''So for me, it was more common sense that I was going to an organization that has a great mindset, a positive atmosphere, a good fan base that understands the game of baseball. That's something I feel like can benefit me.''

Heyward said he is open to negotiating a new contract during the season.

''I couldn't tell you how any of that is going to go. Right now, I just know I'm looking forward to getting settled in with my teammates, fitting in,'' Heyward said. ''The goal for me, and I feel like everyone involved, is to be playing in October for a World Series. If all that takes care of itself, then I feel like a lot of good things will come from it, not any negatives.''

He said he has no preconceived notions on how contract talks would go with St. Louis.

''As this point, I don't. They asked me to be here and I was traded into this situation, and it's a good situation,'' Heyward said. ''For me, I just feel like I need to show up and do my job, kind of follow their lead with certain things. Me, I'm going to show up everyday and look to play the game the right way and have fun doing it.''

''After that, we'll see what happens. It's kind of a unique situation because this is my last year before free agency.''

Heyward got his introduction to St. Louis and its fans at an event Friday that included manager Mike Matheny, principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. and team president Bill DeWitt III.

Heyward brought his parents, Eugene and Laura, with him to St. Louis for the weekend.

It was important, he said, that they accompany him.

''You don't know how long this is going to last, baseball,'' Heyward said. ''This is a dream they helped me realize and made a lot of sacrifices for. They wanted to share that moment with me, a new experience and take a good step going forward.''

You May Like