I have been adding a few new players to my collection and filling in the pieces with my baseball offseason. The inevitable trade or free agent signing always shifts some of those plans around. Just today the Rays trade Sean Rodriguez and I barely flinched. Two weeks ago there was a little bigger ripple in my collection when the Cardinals and Braves swapped Shelby Miller and Jason Hayward. By that afternoon you could already see the hobby wheels spinning. Cardinals collectors tracking down every Hayward card they could get their hands on all the while selling and trading off their collections of beautifully signed Shelby Miller cards.
I was approached by a Braves collector of two about Heyward, but I am moving slowly. More on that in a minute. I will miss Shelby Miller as a Cardinal. While he was not the most talented arm in the rotation, he was a solid pitcher who just never quite lived up to the hype that he generated as a first round draft pick of the team. I will listen on my Shelby cards, but I still really enjoyed collecting his cards and love his signature. Now that Shelby is not on the Cardinals, if you do not own his autograph, you should check them out just for the coolness of that 'graph. They're a lot cheaper at the moment.
As for Jason Heyward, I picked up my first autograph of the All-Star right fielder this past week.....
The card is awesome. A Topps Tribute card signed on-card in blue ink and numbered out of just 50. Incredible add to my collection. So, will you see a lot more of Heyward in this space? I am moving cautiously with Heyward. He is only signed for one more season and could be sitting at the top of lots of off season shopping lists next season. The Cardinals do have a good track record of singing players like Heyward, free agents to be, to contracts after trades. McGwire, Edmonds, Rolen, and Holliday are just a few examples of players who came to St. Louis in trades, but stuck around a lot longer after signing. As a younger collector I rushed out to find every McGwire card I could possibly find. Luckily McGwire signed back with the team before the end of the year. The same thing happened with the other three players.
This time around the stakes seem a little bit higher for both Heyward and the Cardinals. Heyward is trying to prove he still has some thunder in his bat and is worth a long term nine digit contract. The Cardinals are trying to fill the void in the teams offense. While I am waiting for this all to play out, I am cautiously optimistic about Heyward, a few cards at a time.