Jason Heyward is one of 18 players who spent time with the Cardinals last year who are no longer in the organization. (Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

By Rob Rains

Jason Heyward and John Lackey came back in town this week, wearing the blue uniforms of the Chicago Cubs, both happy with their decisions to leave St. Louis as free agents after last season for a new beginning on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Heyward and Lackey are just two of 18 players who spent time with the Cardinals during the 2015 season who are no longer in the organization. Many of those players have not landed on their feet as well as the two new members of the Cubs.

Here is a rundown of where the other 16 are now, presented in alphabetical order:

Matt Belisle, Nationals
– Belisle joined the Nationals as a non-roster player in spring training but earned a spot in the bullpen. He has pitched in four games so far this season, covering three innings, and has allowed one run.

Peter Bourjos, Phillies
– The Phillies claimed Bourjos on waivers over the winter and he has opened the year as their starting rightfielder. He is off to a slow start, however, going 7-of-40, a .175 average, with 12 strikeouts and no stolen bases.

Steve Cishek, Mariners
- The Mariners signed Chishek as a free agent to be their closer He is 1-1 in his first five games of the season with one save and a 1.50 ERA.

Randy Choate, free agent
– Choate signed as free agent with Toronto during spring training but was only there from March 11 to March 30, when he was released. Now 40 years old, his 15-year career in the majors might finally be over.

Tony Cruz, Omaha (Triple A)
– Traded to the Royals after the Cardinals signed Brayan Pena to back up Yadier Molina, Cruz was expected to be the Royals’ backup catcher this year but did not make the team out of spring training and was sent to Triple A, his first time in the minors except for a rehab assignment since 2011. He had a .296 average for the Storm Chasers after the first eight games of the season.

Ed Easley, Indianapolis (Triple A)
–Easley spent most of last season in Memphis but appeared in four games with the Cardinals, going 0-of-6. He is now in Triple A with the Pirates, and the veteran catcher has started slowly this season, going 2-of-13 in four games.

Nick Greenwood, New Britain (Atlantic League)
– Greenwood, who pitched in one game with the Cardinals last year, signed with the Cubs as a free agent with an invitation to spring training, but was released after pitching just one-third of an inning. He then signed with New Britain in the independent Atlantic League.

Marcus Hatley, free agent
– Hatley spent most of last season at Triple A Memphis but pitched in two games for the Cardinals, his first two games in the majors. He became a minor-league free agent after the season and did not sign with anybody so his career would appear to be over.

Jon Jay, Padres
– Traded for Jedd Gyorko, Jay has opened the year as the starting centerfielder in San Diego but so far has struggled offensively. In the first 12 games of the season he has a .212 average, 11 of 52, with six RBI.

Dan Johnson, Bridgeport (Atlantic League) -
Johnson was called up last season when the Cardinals were struggling at first base and played 12 games. A minor-league free agent, he re-signed with one of his former teams, Tampa Bay, trying to make a comeback as a knuckleball pitcher but was released at the end of spring training. He then signed with Bridgeport in the independent Atlantic League.

Pete Kozma, Scranton/Wilkes Barre (Triple A)
– The Cardinals’ former number one draft pick in 2007, Kozma signed with the Yankees over the winter and was assigned to their Triple A team, where he has started the season going 6-of-31 in the first 10 games, a .194 average.

Mark Reynolds, Rockies
– Signed as a free agent, Reynolds has appeared in 10 games for the Rockies, going 7-of-29, a .241 average, with three RBI.

Xavier Scruggs, New Orleans (Triple A) – Scruggs, who spent time with the Cardinals in both 2014 and 2015, signed with the Marlins as a minor-league free agent but failed to make the major-league club out of spring training and was sent to Triple A. He has had a nice start to the season, hitting .282 with a home run and four RBI in the first 11 games.

Cody Stanley, suspended
– Stanley is serving a second suspension for a positive drug test last September. He was with the Cardinals at the time but the test came when he was at Memphis, and as a second offense, the suspension was for 80 days. He will be eligible to sign with a team once the suspension is completed.

Travis Tartamella, free agent
– After years of helping develop pitching prospects as a catcher in the farm system, Tartamella got his first, and apparently only, chance to play in the major leagues last September and had one hit in two at-bats, playing in three games. A minor-league free agent, he has not signed with another team.

Carlos Villanueva, Padres
– Signed as a free agent by the Padres, Villanueva has pitched in six games, all in relief, covering eight innings. He has not been involved in a decision and had a 3.38 ERA.

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