Immediately after the news today that Russell Martin signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Atlanta Braves announced a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves sent OF Jason Heyward and RHP Jordan Walden to the Cardinals in exchange for RHP Shelby Miller and RHP Tyrell Jenkins.

Heyward should be a big boost for an already strong Cardinals team. He put up a 5.1 WAR in 2014, and has averaged just under a 5 WAR over the last three seasons. He’s under control for one more year at $7.8 M in 2015, which means this upgrade is only short-lived. However, it will provide a boost the Cardinals need on offense. Last year they ranked 6th in the NL in wRC+ and 7th in wOBA.

Last year the Cardinals traded Allen Craig to the Red Sox in a deal for John Lackey. That opened up a hole in right field, which remained vacant after the tragic death of top prospect Oscar Taveras. Heyward gives the Cardinals a 2015 outfield that also includes Matt Holliday and a platoon of Peter Bourjos and Jon Jay.

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77 COMMENTS

  1. I would really Like to see the Pirates trade for Neise from the Mets and retain Liriano.Neise is said to possibly be available I’d feel real good about a rotation of Cole,Liriano,Neise,Burnett,and Worley With Taillon and Kingham next in line. Jeff Locke could be a solid Lefty in the bullpen

    • I’ve mentioned Niese a couple of times as a possibility. He’d be a #3 at best, but he’s reliable. Won’t be cheap though. Mets really want to move Colon 1st, then Gee 2nd before they talk Niese. And what Mets need – a SS – is not what Bucs have. Mets could probably use Snider in LF, but he’s not going to fetch Niese on his own.

  2. In my eyes, the addition of Heyward and loss of Miller and Tavares is still a net loss for Cards. Heyward is great at defense and running bases, very inconsistent offensively and susceptible to injury. I don’t see this move hurting Pirates chances to beat out Cards in ’15.

    • Maybe. Seems a lot of people here are more forgiving of Cervelli missing a ton of time, but not Heyward?

      Walden was a nice pickup too for a middle relief guy. IMO, Cards did what they think they had to. Good deal for 2015, which is likely all they’re thinking about regarding the pieces in play.

      • It would be nice to see the Pirates respond and get what we need to take the next step. I think there is enough money to sign Lester. And I think Lester+Cole+AJ with maybe mid season additions from the minors like Kingham/Taillon could make a great starting pitching rotation. At minimum we need Liriano…and another pitcher. It’s time we respond.

  3. Totally makes sense for the Cards… but other than dumping some salary of both Heyward and Walden, not sure why the Braves with all their young arms are adding Miller.

    BTW, Heyward’s numbers the last 2 years have been subpar… although he’s still a terrific fielder. The Cards at times had trouble scoring runs, so this is a gamble for them — and a rather expensive one — if they cannot rejuvenate his bat.

    • I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say “sub par”; his power is certainly not all it has been or all you’d like, but he still gets on base, steals a goodly amount of bases with a good percentage, and is a double-digit homer guy with top-flight defense. That’s an awfully valuable package.

        • Alright… point well-taken. I was ready to argue, but the numbers are similar. lol However, it looks more that while Heyward is more a power threat, Marte is more of a SB threat.

          Although, the comparison is interesting. Heyward is just 25, but has played 5 seasons – and the last 3 have been a bit of a downward trend. Marte is 26 and now has played 3 seasons. That said, his stolen bases were 41 and 30 the last 2 years. His trend, in most areas, has been up. But that’s also because he has not had a season when he’s hit 27, 18, or even 14 HRs. Marte has far less of a deficit whether facing righties or lefties than Heyward, and Heyward last year hit 50-points better on the road than at-home. Change of venue can definitely benefit him.

          Heyward’s number last year were in 1 and 5 spots. Marte’s number may be skewed on some levels by the schizophrenic ways he’s been used in the order — with the bulk of his at-bats in the 1.2, 5, 6, and 7 spots.

          RISP, the 2 had a nearly identical number of ABs, and Heyward hit .301, Marte .243 — a recurring theme of the Bucs with RISP.

          • Heyward is almost a full year younger than Marte and already has put up 12 more wins than while showing superior offense and defense.

            These arguments get fun when you use facts, right?

        • No way he’s better than Marte. By the time Marte has his MLB AB’s he’ll be head and shoulders better than Heyward. Plus Heyward is a walking DL stint in the making. I’m going on record as saying Cards will regret this deal.

  4. Since we have Snider, with Rojas and Garcia knocking at the door….could we consider trading Marte to someone for either a starting pitcher, first baseman, or a catcher who can actually hit and play defense?

    • You don’t give away Clemente type talent for a starting pitcher, your talking about a player that could be the best center fielder on this team and one of the best center fielders in baseball if he played there.

      • The fact that marte has value is the reason for the proposal.. it seems much more reasonable then believing we can package a prospect with pedro to get someones best pitcher..

    • You just listed 3 outfielders and there is a chance none of them are worthy of anything more than #4 on an average team. Snider has managed 2 average years in a career of 6…you want to win a championship with one of them starting? Come on now

  5. Other than two months of Byrd, when was the last time the Pirates had someone who could hit clean up? Pedro has proven over and over again he cant hit there. Its a shame the Pirates don’t have the SP depth to make this kind of move.

    • We have this guy who has finished the top 3 in MVP voting the last 3 years, his name rhymes with “much”, you might have heard of him……. realistically he should hit 4th, he doesn’t really run enough to be worthy of a 3 hitter anymore, we can slot Walker into the 3 hole, Move Harrison to 2nd with Polanco leading off. Marte goes to 5, Mercer in at 6, whatever idiot who plays first base at 7 and our garbage barmes hitting catcher at 8

      • I’d put a lineup of Harrison, Cutch, Marte, Walker, Alvarez, Polanco, Mercer and Stewart out there to get best 3 hitters more AB’s.

      • I like Harrison, Walker, Cutch, Polanco, Marte, Alvarez, Cervelli and Mercer. If Snider is in. I put him in 2hole drop Walker to 4. Ideally Polanco would hit 6th, but I wouldn’t put Pedro higher than 6th. Maybe they put Polanco back in 2 hole. Cutch will hit 3rd till Meadows arrives and proves himself.

  6. ya overall it’s probably a fair trade when you factor in yrs of control and stuff.

    but it’s just that 2015 just got a lot tougher.

    #SignHeadley

      • We probably won’t be able to convince each other to change their minds. I just think he does everything except for avg and power extremely well and projects to age much more gracefully than a Pedro.

      • I dunno how much you buy things like WAR. If you do (and it’s okay if you don’t!), check out his fangraphs page and you’ll be impressed.

        • By no avg I think he doesn’t hit for a high enough batting average to make up for his lack of power, but I will check out fangraphs.

      • if you only need 1 year of control for an outfielder, is that enough to give up 4 years of miller? i think it’s a wash

      • When did Grichuk become this top prospects? He was top 10 in the Angles system but they have had one of the weaker systems in baseball. Grichuk has some series issues with handling breaking pitches and isn’t projected to walk much, this season he had .689 OPS against RHP in the PCL. There is potential, but I’m not sure any team should be penciling him into a future starting role.

        • Just a guess based on Cards recent history. They’ve always liked Grichuk – he was right there with Trout on their 2009 draft board had the Angels passed on either. His upside could be Pedro, his downside the 2010 Brandon Moss or 2014 Mark Trumbo. Because of his power, I don’t expect the Cards to give up on him quickly. They do have Piscotty as well. I think both will see 100+ ABs next year in StL. We’ll see.

          • That’s fine I didn’t mean to jump on you, I just have seen a lot favorable things said about Grichuk that to me seem to have come out of nowhere. I know he has some power potential, but remember when the trade was made that the reports questioned his overall hitting ability saying that this could limit his effective power.

            Not familiar with JAVIER, but I remember its creator because the first iteration of his system said Marte had a very high bust potential, which was probably accurate based on his strikeout rate. Though I do find it odd that Grichuk rates high according to the new system, he hasn’t exactly excelled at AAA, and has a plate discipline profile that projection systems tend not to like.

            I honestly fear the Cardinals extending Heyward, similar to what they did with Holliday more than I do Grichuk.

  7. Why do you say short lived? The Cardinals will pay him just like they paid Matt Holliday. They aren’t cheap like some owners. They pay up for talent. They even offered Pujols big time money before he turned them down.

    • it’s a matter of value. 1 year of jason heyward vs. many cost controlled years of shelby miller. if they sign him, that’s different. but there’s no guarantee

    • Funny you mention Holliday, because paying Holliday is likely precisely why they wont extend Heyward. They cant sustain a payroll that sees good money for Carpenter, Holliday, Peralta, Yadi, Waino, arb years for Adams and Rosenthal, AND a contract that is likely to be 15 million per year for Heyward. They have 2 years in which all those guys will be under contract along with having to field the rest of the team. If they did extend Heyward, they almost have to move talent to afford it and still will have a hole in the OF when Holliday wants paid a few years after Heyward. Heyward can get 6-8 years and the cards arent likely to see that as a good use of a large chunk of resources.

      • The Cards won’t be offering Holliday another contract after this one expires end of 2016. Holliday will be going into his age 37 season then.

        Cards have plenty of cash to float all those salaries for one year if they want.

        • Where? That puts the salary that year at levels they havent seen. You have about 70 million wrapped up in about 5-6 players.

            • That creates puzzling issues for me in STL. A year later, Holliday walks (since they cant resign him to current levels and sustain payroll) and they have to downgrade LF in terms of payroll. All while arb prices get more and more expensive for some guys. They’d be locked into about 4 deals that had 3+ years on them at premium prices.

              • I just don’t think they’ll be overly concerned about re-signing a 37-year old Holliday at market rates. They’ve got kids in the minors just like us. And financial/prospect resources to deal for someone decent (as we just saw with Heyward). Given they’re the Cards, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Holliday re-sign for something more team-friendly if he can’t land a deal with another contender.

                • They have 1 kid close to ready in AAA, though playing in RF. However, it does seem to place a ton of emphasis on him succeeding as a rookie. I dont think they can afford to sign Holliday for really anything close to good value if they resign Heyward and will be forced to rely on a rookie OF along with another young kid in Grichurk or however you spell it. To me, i actually like that because it would be a less than great outfield and could be very average for a few years.

    • Let’s be clear Jason Heyward isn’t a difference maker. He’s an excellent defensive player and runs bases well, but his bat will be nowhere near as productive as Tavares’ would’ve been for them. Plus he is injury prone.

      • I think jhey and marte are close to the same player.. just surprised you say that cause you were deadset against my thought of trading marte

        • I may be proven wrong, but Heyward has been a guy who failed to live up to expectations. Maybe a new team and new coaching will help him reach the superstar level projected for him.

          As for Marte, he is showing the type of improvement you’d hope for in a 3rd year player. This year could be his breakout year. Can’t trade him now. No how. No way.

          • Ah.. i was thinking martes 2014 was enough to provide a great return in a trade.. maybe i’m wrong about that.. i think most athletes fail to meet expectations. . Jhey’s expectations have always been best player in game..

  8. Let’s be clear…the Pirates will put all their $$ now into starting pitching, which is what they should do. Pipe dreams about 1b are pretty clueless… Pedro can’t be traded now for value and his pop too important to rot on the bench. He is your 2015 1b-man. Need to either re-sign Gaby or find another RH platoon partner.

  9. Cards got better, Miller overhyped and overvalued IMHO. Braves clueless, though John Hart was dealt a tough hand with no payroll flexibility. Guess this means no one at all wanted to touch Upton as he is most certainly the one that shouldve been traded.

    But any reference to NH “making countermoves’ is pretty silly. The Pirates have their needs to upgrade and it matters not what others do around them.

    • The Cardinals just got a good deal better, and the Cardinals finished ahead of the Pirates each of the last two years. The Pirates have to upgrade where they need to upgrade…but they need to upgrade to catch the Cardinals.

    • Well it sort of does. The Cards are the Bucs #1 rival and with addition of JHey they’ve become an even more LH heavy lineup. So if you’re going to re-sign one of Liriano or Volquez, the scales just tipped in Liriano’s direction.

      • Any idea how important it is to have a lefty in the rotation? Or if you had a righty with reverse splits, is it the same

        • In the NLC in 2015, I think it would be valuable, considering the Bucs have a maybe #1 and a bunch of #4/#5 guys.

          Liriano has been very good vs. Cards/Cubs/Reds (if not pitching to Heisey). All LH heavy lineups where it counts. A bit less so vs. MIL. That should count for something given it’s the bulk of his starts (31 vs NLC, 24 vs RoMLB).

  10. The one pitcher the pirates did hit well is getting traded, but who is Tyrrell Jenkins? and I guess St. Louis had enough pitching depth to trade him.

    • The Braves tried to extend Heyward and they wanted more than a draft pick in return for his departure. Team is retooling and it isn’t placing a premium on wins in 2015.

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