The Atlanta Braves mad a big move today with one of their young promising outfielders, and no, they did not break up the Upton brothers…yet. The Braves traded 25 year old former first round pick Jason Heyward to the St. Louis Cardinals. A bit of a shocking move for the Braves who finished just under .500 last season at 79-83.
Heyward in his young career was an All Star in 2010 and won two Gold Gloves in 2012 and 2014. Heyward was packaged with right handed reliever Jordan Walden for 24 year old right handed starting pitcher Shelby Miller who finished 10-9 with a 3.74 ERA and a minor league player. If anyone were to be moved from Atlanta’s outfield, it was thought to be BJ Upton who has been atrocious since signing a 5 year $75 million in 2012. In each of his first two years in Atlanta, Upton has hit an abysmal .184 and .208. Heyward on the other hand has hit .254 and .271 during that same span. Miller figures to step into the rotation right away next year as he seems to be a promising starter in this league.
Heyward figures to be inserted into the Cardinals lineup right away as the everyday starter in right field and should hit in the middle of the lineup. Heyward should bring a bit more punch to a Cardinal lineup that struggled to hit the long ball. It’ll also be a contract year for Heyward meaning if he wants to get paid next off-season he’ll need to have a big year in 2015.
With a very young lineup, it still leaves many scratching their head as to why Heyward was moved. The Braves had a great nucleus of young budding players in Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons, Tommy La Stella, Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, and Jason Heyward. Maybe the Braves were not ready to give Heyward the big money he is most likely seeking next off season. Either way, looks like the Braves are moving on.