(CBS) Jason Heyward offered high praise for the Cardinals organization as he stood before the Chicago media last week.

When asked about the stunned reaction in St. Louis, he stepped back and thanked the ownership and leadership that helped him settle in during that one year with the Cardinals. But Heyward was honest in his reason for leaving to sign with the Cubs, taking $16 million less in guaranteed money to do so. Heyward signed an eight-year, $184-million deal with the Cubs.

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Players like Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright and more comprise an over-30 core and aren’t getting any younger, and there was no knowing the Cardinals organization’s direction in signing a long-term deal. Heyward didn’t see long-term stability in St. Louis like he did in Chicago, where the Cubs have a talented core of players in their early 20s to build around.

“Guys like that are what really introduced me to the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization,”Heyward said at his introductory press conference. “I felt like if I was to look up and in three years see a completely different team, that would be difficult.”

Heyward meant this in an honest, genuine way, and that didn’t sit well with Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who was taken aback by those comments.

“I don’t think it’s going to ring too well with our club,” Matheny told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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“I told Jason this before. I’ve got a lot of respect for Jason as a person. He’s got to go make the decisions he’s going to have to live with. If that (core group comparison) is a big deal to him, he’s just being honest with people.

“But I don’t think we have anything to apologize for in having a group like a Holliday, a Molina, a Wainwright. Those are the kinds of guys everybody wants on a club.

“I see where he’s coming from. I mean, look at what Chicago’s done. It’s very unique in this game — to have that many impact players at that young age. And he’s a young player. But I can’t say I’m in any kind of agreement with that (Chicago) core being better than any kind of core that we have.

“I don’t blame him. But I don’t like it.”

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The Cubs beat the Cardinals in four games in the NLDS, then added former Cardinals in Heyward and John Lackey in free agency.