Back in November, as the Braves were reconfiguring themselves with an eye toward 2017, the Jayson Heyward trade was a particularly personal one.
Heyward had all the hometown connections, and always would be the storybook local player who homered in his first big-league at-bat. He was the fellow who would hit wherever needed in the lineup. Plus, even when that bat sometimes wandered, he played the outfield like a man possessed. You run into enough walls, you become a fan favorite.
In exchange, the Braves received from St. Louis a young starting pitcher coming off a very so-so second full year in the Bigs and a prospect not far removed from shoulder surgery.
Here at the All-Star break is not the time to fully judge the trade, but at first glance, it certainly looks rose-colored for the Braves. GM John Hart said he was more thrilled about his deal than any of his others; and we see why.
That starter, Shelby Miller, is going to the All-Star Game. That prospect, Tyrell Jenkins, just threw seven scoreless innings in his Triple-A debut in Gwinnett.
And Heyward? Well, he won’t be at the All-Star Game – and hasn’t been since his 2010 rookie season.
After a slow start with the Cardinals, Heyward had a terrific June (hitting .326 with four home runs and 14 RBI). He’s playing for his next contract, which will be substantial, and has the benefit of playing on a team with the best record in baseball.
You figure Heyward will settle into what he is: A .270ish hitter of moderate power, and a steadying defensive force. St. Louis doesn’t have to hack into any of the Braves computers to figure that out.
Yeah, that trade worried me early.
Not so much now.
You wish Heyward well. And, at the same time happily take on two potentially high-impact arms in his place.