This afternoon the Cardinals made a four player trade with the Braves that involve Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins for Jason Heyward and Jordan Weldon. I wasn’t too shocked by this trade due to hearing some chatter that the Cardinals were interested in Heyward and planned to talk with the Braves about him last week. Things went well and both teams were able to make the trade that would help both teams.
Heyward, 25, is a two-time (2012 & 2014) National League Rawlings Gold Glove selection who has posted a .262 career batting mark with 84 home runs and 292 RBI to go along with 63 stolen bases since debuting with the Braves as an All-Star in 2010 (.277 BA, 18 HR, 72 RBI) and finishing 2nd that year to the Giants Buster Posey in the N.L. Rookie of the Year balloting. The left-handed hitting Heyward batted .271 this past season with 11 HR’s and 58 RBI while stealing 20 bases and he finished as a finalist to Yadier Molina in the Rawlings Platinum Glove voting for the best defensive player in the National League.
The 6-5, 245-pound Heyward was the Braves 1st round draft selection (14th player overall) in 2007. He led N.L. right fielders in putouts and assists in both 2012 and 2014 and hit a career-high 27 home runs in 2012. The Georgia native has shown his lineup versatility by having started over 100 games each in the lead-off, number two and number three batting order positions during his career.
Walden, who celebrated his 27th birthday yesterday, is a hard-throwing right-hander who in 2011 led the Los Angeles Angels in saves with 32 and was named an American League All-Star that same season when he finished 5th in the junior circuit in saves and complied a 2.98 ERA. The 6-5, 250-pound Texas native struck out 62 batters in 50.0 innings pitched this past season and he had a 2.88 ERA to go along with three saves.
Walden, who has appeared in 50 or more games in three of the past four seasons, led the Braves with 20 Holds in 2014. His career mark is 12-13 with a 3.10 ERA and 38 saves in 231 games pitched, striking out 254 batters in 211.2 IP.
With Shelby Miller gone who will the Cardinals put in his place?, Marco Gonzales or Carlos Martinez? Or would they go after a starting pitcher? The Cardinals do have payroll muscle if they were to take on a Free Agent starting pitcher like a Jon Lester or Jake Peavy.