With a year left on his contract, the Atlanta Braves have dealt outfielder Jason Heyward along with reliever Jordan Walden to the St. Louis Cardinals for starting pitcher Shelby Miller and minor league hurler Tyrell Jenkins.
A Georgia native, Heyward was a first round draft pick of the Braves in 2007 and made a spectacular debut in 2010 hitting a home run in his first big league at bat. He finished runner up to fellow Georgian Buster Posey in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and was named to the NL All-Star Team. That season, Heyward hit .277 with 18 HR and 72 RBI. Some compared Heyward’s grace to that of Willie Mays and nicknamed him “The J-Hey Kid”.
He has been an inconsistent player since. After a disappointing sophmore campaign in 2011 in which he only hit .227, Heyward had career highs in 2012 with 27 HR and 82 RBI and won his first Gold Glove. Heyward would miss a significant chunk of the 2013 season after he was hit the face with a pitch by Jonathan Niese of the New York Mets. Although Heyward hit a respectable .271 in 2014 his power numbers were down as he only hit 11 HR and 58 RBI in 149 games. However, he did win his second Gold Glove.
The Cardinals lost Carlos Beltran to free agency prior to the 2014 season. Allen Craig was plagued with injuries before being dealt to the Red Sox. The Cards platooned Oscar Taveras and Randall Grichuk with Grichuk getting most of the playing time. The long term plan had been to ease Taveras into the role but sadly he was killed in a car accident during the World Series. Heyward should fit in nicely in St. Louis and should be the Cardinals right fielder for many years to come. I don’t know if he’ll have great power numbers, but I could see him hitting closer to .300 and winning a few more Gold Gloves. He is only 25 and his best years are still to come.
Jordan Walden is an interesting addition. Although he has been a set up man in recent years, he did save 32 games for the Angels back in 2011. Given Trevor Rosenthal’s ineffectiveness in the post-season, Walden could step into the closer’s role should Rosenthal struggle out of the gate in 2015.
Meanwhile, the Braves get a quality starting pitcher in Shelby Miller. In 2013, Miller won 15 games and finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting. He was a little more inconsistent last year finishing with a 10-9 record, but Miller is only 24 and has a lot of good years left in him.
All in all, I think it’s a good deal for both clubs.
Notice to Readers: The American Spectator and Spectator World are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The Spectator World please click on the following link: https://thespectator.com/world.