The star of spring training thus far has to be Jason Heyward. Before the exhibition season begins there’s only so many actions that can create hype. Going on a fastball-crunching, executive car-battering frenzy during batting practice is one of those actions. Media and fans are like are swooning over this guy, which makes it time for the Braves to think about their future and Heyward’s role in that future by glancing at Evan Longoria’s situation from 2008.
No, not the demotion to the minors, but by making sure Heyward buddies up with Eric Hinske and discusses the finer points of ballplayer finances. Generally, having the stud rookie talk with a former stud rookie whose most notable accomplishment in the last 12 months includes a $5,000 tattoo seems like a recipe for disaster, but remember what Hinske did for Longoria? If not, a refresher:
“He told me don’t pass up the chance to make your first fortune,” Longoria recalled with a smile. “I trust everything he says and I definitely took that advice.”
Longoria, of course, signed a six-year, $17.5M extension that could reach nine-years and more than $30M if things stay on course. That deal is the Heyward of contracts and a large reason why Longoria has been named the most valuable asset in baseball two years running by this site. Obviously Hinske’s words may not capture Heyward’s (or his agent’s) heart quite like they caught Longoria, but Heyward has the makings of a special career. With such, the Braves should pull out the big guns and have Hinske attached to Heyward’s hip all spring.
If nothing else, maybe the snake on Hinske’s back can intimidate the youngster into doing some inking of his own.