I waited and waited to determine what my second blog post should be about. Then the Braves went and dropped the hammer (and ball) and gave me something to rant about.
The Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a trade early Monday afternoon sending Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden to St. Louis. In return, the Braves will acquire Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.
I was okay with trading Heyward this offseason given the direction that the organization seemed to be going, but my God this return was horrendous. There are reports coming out that Boston never engaged in trade talks regarding Heyward, which makes me wonder what they would’ve departed with had the two organization’s just picked up the phone. So, my initial hot take: this sucks. I had been sleeping on the couch the whole morning and went through half a box of tissues due to a cold I have come down with. Now I’m stuck using the tissues to wipe away tears rather than blow my nose.
Anybody who is trying to make sense of this for the Braves is arguing that they are getting two cost controlled pitchers and restocking the arms in the system, aka “The Braves Way.” We cannot grade Shelby Miller based off of his disappointing 2014 season without taking his 2013 season into some consideration. He was worth 2.2 fWAR and posted a much higher K/9 and lower BB/9 numbers in 2013, but is coming off of a season in which he posted a 0.2 fWAR, 6.25 K/9, and 3.59 BB/9. Meanwhile, his BABIP was .024 lower than his numbers in 2013. Perhaps this is due to using his changeup significantly less. John Hart and company better be banking on Roger McDowell being able to help Miller regain finding how to miss bats. He will be controlled by the Braves for the next four years, which does give them an arm to slot into their absolutely depleted rotation.
However, they traded Jason Heyward. Jason Heyward, who posted a 5.1 fWAR in 2014, tied with players like Yasiel Puig and AL Batting Champion Jose Altuve. He was worth 0.9 more than “the face of the franchise” Freddie Freeman and 1.2 more than Silver Slugger winner Justin Upton. Jason Heyward was the Braves best player, a huge fan favorite, and true “face of the Braves franchise”.
We all know how great Heyward’s defense is. Back to back Gold Glove Awards in 2013 and 2014, with him (probably) being the best defensive player in the game in the latter year. His offense, while never being able to top that special 2010 season, was still valuable. Plus, he is a hell of a baserunner, one of the best I’ve seen in Atlanta in years. Heyward is the complete package and just a very young 25 years old.
I said earlier I was okay with trading Heyward entering this offseason and that was only under a couple of conditions. First, they tried to extend him at all costs. It sounds like Heyward wanted Freddie Freeman money, which he absolutely deserved. The problem in baseball is that his skill set isn’t as valued as somebody like Justin Upton or Freddie Freeman, which is a problem. It doesn’t sound like, based on what Jason has said, that negotiations were even discussed this offseason. He should have been one of the core members signed to a long term contract to help build around.
Second, I would have been okay with John Hart and company trading Heyward had they gotten the best absolute package for him. There are too many organizations who need corner outfield (or even centerfield) help to settle for a package that banks on your pitching coach being able to fix the centerpiece of it. I wonder what the Cubs were said to be offering, as they have been linked to being interested in Heyward. I wonder what Boston would have been willing to part with. Now we will just be left with the what ifs and prayers that Shelby Miller turns into a solid top of the rotation member, because he will surely never be as valuable as Heyward will.
I’ve completely ignored the other two players traded in this deal thus far, but the Braves also acquired Tyrell Jenkins in the deal while Jordan Walden was sent to St. Louis.
Everybody hates Monday because its the start of the work week. I hated this Monday even more because of this stupid cold I’m dealing with. Now, this Monday took a turn for the absolute worst for Braves fans. Cardinals fans will fall in love with Jason Heyward the first time they see him score from first on a double or track down a sinking line drive in rightfield. He is a complete baseball player whom I wish the absolute best with for the rest of his career. Surely, he is bound to win a World Series in St. Louis.
Love you, forever, Jason. Thanks for the memories.