The Braves have traded Jason Heyward and to Cardinals for Shelby Miller. Atlanta also sent reliever Jordan Walden to St. Louis, with the Cardinals also sending 22-year-old minor league pitcher Tyrell Jenkins.
The Braves announced last week that Evan Gattis was moving to the outfield and I expected there would be a move soon.
Atlanta had tried to sign Jason Heyward to a lengthy extension like the did with Freddie Freeman, but Heyward said he wanted to test free agency. With him being a free agent next season, you have to wonder if the Braves are putting themselves in a position to able to sign him. Walden eliminated $3 million from the payroll and Miller shouldn’t be too expensive. Miller isn’t arbitration eligible until 2016 and isn’t a free agent until 2019. Miller finished 10-9 last season with a 3.74 ERA, he went 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA in 2013.
The one problem I have with the trade is the Braves not getting more for Heyward. He is just 25 and entering his prime, he’s a gold glove winning outfielder and the Braves get a starting pitcher and a prospect for him. I think that Miller will be great for the Braves, but Jenkins is already 22 and was ranked 14th out of all the Cardinals prospects. I think that Heyward was worth a lot more. Jenkins was 6-5 with a 3.28 ERA in the minors last season. I think that he will more than likely be a bullpen pitcher when it is all said and done.
The Cardinals outfield is now loaded, with Jon Jay and Matt Holiday to go with Hayward. That might be the best outfield in baseball, especially if Jay hits like he did last season.
There was rumors last week of the Braves going into a rebuilding mode, and this confirmed those rumors. This team still is good enough to win, but I just don’t see it happening. The Braves are aiming to put a championship team on the field in 2017, when their new ballpark will open. Atlanta’s rotation should be one of the best in baseball by that time, with Miller, Julio Teheran, and Alex Wood. All three of those pitchers are under 25 right now and will be entering their prime when the ballpark opens.
I expect the Braves to make a few more moves this offseason and wouldn’t be surprised to see Justin Upton be traded soon.