Heyward was traded from Atlanta to St. Louis in November. The 25-year-old hit .271 with a .384 slugging percentage, .735 OPS, 11 home runs, 26 doubles and 58 RBI in 149 games. He is entering the final year of his contract after signing a two-year extension in Feb. 2014, is set to make $7.8 million in 2015.
Much of the early speculation about
Even with limited power, Heyward finished last season with the 23rd-highest Fantasy point total among outfielders in standard Head-to-Head leagues. It helped that Heyward stole 20 bases in 24 attempts, walked 67 times and scored 74 runs, and some of that production was aided by his status as the Braves' primary leadoff hitter. One of the least glamorous items on Heyward's 2014 stat line was his 115 singles, but they added to his value and were made possible by the additional plate appearances he received at the top of the order.
By contrast, Heyward ranked 36th among outfielders in Rotisserie value. Given that he is moving to a home park that is tougher on home run hitters than Turner Field was, it might be asking a lot for Heyward to break out as a power hitter in 2015.
At age 25, Heyward could take a step forward and be a top 20 outfielder for all formats, but that could be harder for him to accomplish now that Busch Stadium is his home venue. If Cardinals manager Mike Matheny doesn't see fit to bat Heyward in the leadoff spot, his climb towards Fantasy stardom will only get steeper.
"It was very difficult to trade Jason, but deal was made to help us short-term and long-term," Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said. "This deal also improves us in an area where we are woefully, woefully thin -- our minor-league system."
Heyward had been mentioned in trade rumors leading up to Monday's deal. He is in the final year of his contract after signing a two-year extension in Feb. 2014. The 25-year-old outfielder is coming off a disappointing 2014 season. He hit .271 with a .384 slugging percentage, .735 OPS, 11 home runs, 26 doubles and 58 RBI in 149 games.
The 24-year-old Miller is also coming off a disappointing campaign. The once highly touted pitching prospect went 10-9 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 32 appearances (31 starts). While he reached a career high in innings (183), Miller struggled with his command (3.6 BB/9) and saw his strikeout rate drop significantly (6.2 K/9).
"As we look at Shelby, we see that he has a chance to become a front-of-line rotation type of guy," Hart said.
Walden, the former Angels' All-Star closer in 2011, is under team control through 2016. He was 0-2 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and three saves in 58 appearances for Atlanta last season.
Jenkins is a former top-100 prospect whose career has been slowed by a shoulder injury he sustained in 2013. He returned to action in 2014, going 6-5 with a 3.28 ERA and 1.31 WHIP in 13 starts at high Class A.
"I wasn’t the general manager last year," said Hart, who replaced fired general manager Frank Wren. "There was a two-year deal given to (Heyward) to take him up to his free agency. I think as much as anything wants the ability to be able to explore (free agency), and it’s understandable. This is a home-grown player, it’s a player that we love. I love the way this guy plays; there’s a lot to like about him. But my assumption is it’s probably the wrong time (for an extension). I don’t think that there are a lot of legs for doing something, on either side.
"That doesn’t mean there can’t be a deal a year down the road. It certainly doesn’t mean that. I just don’t think that this is the time. We’ve got him under contract. There’s going to be no ill will, no arbitration. He knows we love him. And we’ll just play this one out."
CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reports the Braves have fielded trade inquiries on Heyward. However, the Braves aren't said to be looking to trade Heyward.
All three players struggled offensively in 2014. Heyward did hit .271, but he slugged just .384 and had 11 home runs. Simmons hit .244 with seven home runs and 46 RBI, while Upton hit .208 with 12 home runs and 35 RBI.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|9/28/2014 vs Philadelphia|
|vs Hamels (Career)||32||7||0||.344||.359||.219|
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