The Cubs-Cardinals rivalry has already started to heat up and we're not even into January yet.

When Jason Heyward was introduced by the Cubs last week, he explained his reasoning for coming to Chicago as wanting to be a part of — and grow with — the Cubs' young core. He said in St. Louis, the Cardinals' core was aging and soon, he was worried he'd be the only one left.

Heyward specifically pointed to the ages of Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday and Adam Wainwright, not to call them out, just simply to explain that they're not going to be around forever.

[MORE CUBS: Cubs-Cardinals rivalry will keep escalating in 2016]

The Cardinals took exception to those comments.

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny recently spoke to the Post Dispatch and didn't pull any punches:


"I don't think it's going to ring too well with our club," Matheny said. "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.

 

“That veteran group (that the Cardinals have) also helps drive what the younger group turns into.

 

“I don’t blame him. But I don’t like it. I thought we created a really good atmosphere and he had to weigh what was most important to him.

 

“Say if we hadn’t won. ... That would have made a difference. Say if we hadn’t created an atmosphere where he was a major part of what we’re doing. ... Neither of those is true.

 

“Say we hadn’t made an offer. We made a terrific offer. With all that being said, it comes down to what does a guy want? (Staying in St. Louis) just wasn’t what he was looking for.”


Don't expect this to be the last of the drama between these two rivals.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

The Cubs knocked the Cardinals out of the postseason in the National League Division Series and then moved quickly to sign the Cardinals' best position player (Heyward) and pitcher (John Lackey) from that 100-win team.

2016 is going to be fun, you guys.