The Fascinating Jason Heyward/Shelby Miller Swap

Maybe we should have seen this coming. It was pretty clear that the Braves were going to trade an outfielder this winter, with both Justin Upton and Jason Heyward entering their final season before they became free agents, and the team apparently preferring to employ Evan Gattis as a left fielder rather than as a catcher. The team tried to re-sign Heyward when they spent last year locking up their young core, but found his price prohibitive, so he almost certainly wasn’t staying in Atlanta beyond the 2015 season, and the Braves probably aren’t good enough to be pushing all of their chips in for the upcoming season.

So, trading Heyward now makes a good amount of sense for the Braves, and they made it clear that acquiring starting pitching was their #1 priority this winter. A natural trade partner would have a hole in right field, some rotation depth, and the potential desire and ability to try and sign Heyward to a long-term deal before hit the open market next winter. No team in baseball fit that description as well as the St. Louis Cardinals, so while we didn’t hear any pre-deal rumors of the deal that sent Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins to Atlanta for Heyward and Jordan Walden, it feels like we should have anticipated something like this. It’s the kind of move that seemingly makes a lot of sense for both sides.

We’ll start with the Cardinals side of things, since they’re acquiring the best player in this deal. Jason Heyward is a stud, and you don’t even have to buy into defensive metrics to agree with that statement. For 2015, Steamer projects him at +4.5 WAR per 600 plate appearances, the 16th highest total of any position player in baseball, and that’s with him grading out as just a slightly above average defender: the +10 fielding projection right field adds up to a +3.5 DEF rating, which includes the positional adjustment for playing a corner spot. In terms of forecast defensive value, Heyward’s projection puts him in roughly a similar group to guys like David Wright, Robinson Cano, Pablo Sandoval, and Josh Reddick.

It’s also a significant step back from what he’s done previously, as his career DEF/600 PA rating is +10. In other words, Steamer is projecting Heyward to take a big step back defensively and still be one of the best players in the game, because the forecast sees a 25 year old with a career 117 wRC+ and positive contact rate trends, so it thinks Heyward is on the verge of a big offensive breakout. From a purely offensive standpoint, Steamer expects Heyward to be as good (or slightly better than) the good Upton, Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, or Hanley Ramirez. If you combine the offensive level of those players with above average defensive value, well, you’re left with a superstar.

And that’s why the Cardinals have to be pretty thrilled with this move. They’re legitimately getting one of the best young players in baseball, and at the only position where they had a glaring need. Adding Heyward to fill their right field hole will end up being one of the largest improvements any team makes this winter. The question for the Cardinals is how long they’ll get to keep him.

Because of how quickly he got to the big leagues, Heyward is in line to hit free agency after his age-25 season, and he’s going to have roughly +25 career WAR when he reaches the open market. Barring a disastrous 2015 season, he’s going to get paid, and you can be certain that his agents will be pointing to the 13 year, $325 million deal that Giancarlo Stanton has agreed to as the new precedent. Sure, Heyward isn’t going to get 13/$325M, given the massive differences in power, but it seems likely that he’ll demand a deal that starts at 10 years and goes north of $200 million.

Robinson Cano got $240 million as a similarly valuable player entering his age-31 season; Heyward might not have Cano’s offensive track record, but he’s going to be selling his prime years, and the deal won’t extend into the period of his career where you’d expect him to essentially be worthless. If the Cardinals want to lock up Heyward before he gets to free agency, it’s probably going to take something like the contract they refused to give Albert Pujols. Maybe they might be able get him to take a slight pre-free agent discount and get him for 9/$200M or something in that range, but let’s dispel the notion that the Cardinals are going to be able to sign Heyward for anything other than a mountain of cash.

The team definitely has the means to take on a contract like that. They only have $73 million in committed contracts for next season, and Matt Holliday‘s contract expires at the end of the 2016 season, so they have the flexibility to make Heyward a franchise-player type offer. And they do have a history of acquiring players on the cusp of free agency, only to convince them to stick around instead, but stretching for a single player the way Heyward will require would be something new for this front office.

For now, this has to be viewed as a rental. A rental with a chance to purchase, perhaps, but this isn’t a trade-and-sign deal like we’ve seen with the R.A. Dickey or Martin Prado trades the last few years. The Cardinals are getting a great right fielder, but they’re only guaranteed to get him for one year, and then it’s either a really large long-term commitment or settling for the compensation pick that comes from letting a premium free agent walk away at year’s end. There’s a non-zero chance that the long-term return on this deal for St. Louis will be minimal.

But the short-term upgrade is huge, especially if they flip Peter Bourjos for a starting pitcher to replace Miller, which shouldn’t be too terribly difficult. Having Heyward/Walden/Pitcher To Be Named instead of Bourjos/Miller/Jenkins could be a three or four win upgrade in 2015, depending on what kind of starter they get in return, and that’s three or four wins in a year in which marginal upgrades are going to be extremely valuable to the Cardinals.

Adam Wainwright is probably just about finished as an ace, and is headed for a decline. Yadier Molina won’t be able to hit forever. Holliday isn’t a spring chicken anymore. The Cardinals have plenty of good young talent, but their best players are getting worse, and the Cardinals needed a significant upgrade to put themselves in position to win the NL Central once again. This move does just that.

The long-term cost will essentially boil down to what you believe Shelby Miller is. Is he a top-flight young pitcher, the guy who has produced +6 WAR by runs allowed in 370 big league innings, and just turned 24? or is he a two-pitch tease, overrated by run prevention, heading for a short-term crash when his mediocre peripherals catch up with him? A strong case could be made for both outcomes.

Miller throws a lot of fastballs up in the zone, and as Eno noted through multiple conversations with pitchers this year, high fastballs can produce some terrific results, often inducing a lot of useless contact that isn’t captured in FIP-type metrics. If Miller’s approach to pitching up with a good fastball makes him a guy who can sustain a BABIP in the .270-.280 range, the underwhelming strikeout rates become a lot less problematic. If you’re a Braves fan who wants to be excited about this deal, here’s the first ~400 IP comparison you want to use.

Name IP BB% K% GB% HR/FB LOB% BABIP ERA- FIP- xFIP-
Shelby Miller 370 9% 20% 39% 10% 79% 0.267 92 110 110
Matt Cain 437 10% 20% 37% 6% 72% 0.259 83 86 102

Cain was always better at home run prevention than Miller, but the template is similar, and it’s certainly possible that Miller is a (somewhat worse) new version of the Cain skillset. If Miller’s FIP-beating ways prove sustainable to a significant degree, picking up four discounted years of a quality young arm is a very solid return for a single year of Heyward, especially if the Braves don’t see themselves as strong contenders in 2015.

But Cain is notable because most pitchers can’t do what he’s done, and not every young hurler who posts a low BABIP for 400 innings is definitely going to follow in his footsteps. Here’s another, less-rosy comparison for Miller, again with career performance through the equivalent of two full seasons.

Name IP BB% K% GB% HR/FB LOB% BABIP ERA- FIP- xFIP-
Jeremy Hellickson 402 8% 17% 38% 10% 82% 0.244 79 115 110
Shelby Miller 370 9% 20% 39% 10% 79% 0.267 92 110 110

A couple of years ago, the arguments for Hellickson were the same as they are for Miller today. Maybe he’s just good at inducing a lot of popups, and because he’s a flyball guy, he’s always going to run lower than average BABIPs, so he’s underrated by metrics that focus only on walks, strikeouts, and home runs or ground balls. Hellickson managed to keep things going through age-25, and then promptly fell apart, pitching poorly and getting injured. The Rays just shipped him to Arizona for two lower level prospects rather than bet on him returning to prior form.

More often than not, guys who post big gaps between their ERAs and their FIPs regress towards the latter, which is why FIP and xFIP work for most pitchers. It doesn’t mean Miller is definitely not an outlier, but he probably isn’t at outlier to the degree that he’s been so far, and he’s probably more of an okay pitcher than a very good one.

But even four years of an okay young arm is pretty valuable. After all, we’re looking at league average starters making $10-$12 million per year in free agency, and Miller will a little more than the league minimum this year, with three below-market arbitration years to follow. Even if Miller is more of a solid arm than a future ace, the Braves are getting a lot more quantity of value here, and they’re allocating it into the years where they think they might be more able to contend.

And Miller isn’t the only thing they’re getting. Tyrell Jenkins was a first round pick a couple of years ago, and while he’s battled arm problems since, Kiley McDaniel remains somewhat intrigued by his potential. Here’s Kiley’s updated take on Jenkins:

Jenkins missed the first half of 2014 recovering from shoulder surgery on a muscle in his shoulder (not the joint itself), something that had been bothering him for years. He turned 22 in the middle of this season and was understandably a bit rusty in half a season at High-A, but started to find his stride in the Arizona Fall League, where I scouted him a few weeks ago. He sat 92-94 and hit 96 mph, flashing above average fastball life at times, with an above average 80-83 mph hard curveball and a changeup at 81-84 mph that’s average when he keeps it down in the zone.

He’s incredibly athletic and the breaking ball has flashed plus at higher velocites, so there could still be even more in the tank than what I saw. I’d like to get a full, healthy 2015 on the books for Jenkins before i give a projection with some certainty, but he seems to be headed in the right direction now with enough starter traits to project him in a rotation. I’d grade him as a 50 FV/#4 starter now, but I could edit that up a notch by the middle of next season.

The combination of Miller and Jenkins give the Braves two live-arms that they’re buying somewhat low on, and if both end up pitching to their previously-believed potential, this would turn into a huge win for Atlanta. If either of them turn into quality mid-rotation starters, or if you think Miller is already that now, then this probably is a smart enough move for a somewhat-rebuilding team to divest a short-term asset into some future value.

Of course, if Miller is Hellickson 2.0 instead of Cain 2.0, and Jenkins is just another power arm who can’t miss bats, then this could look pretty terrible for the Braves as well. If Steamer is correct about Hewyard’s impending breakout, this could turn out to be a franchise player for a couple of arms with legitimate question marks who might turn out to be nothing at all. This move could be great, okay, or terrible for Atlanta, and it all depends on how the young arms develop, which is maybe the most difficult thing to project.

The fact that there’s no obvious most likely outcome suggests this is a pretty fair move for both sides. I probably prefer this a little bit from St. Louis’ perspective, since I lean more towards assuming Miller’s strikeout regression is a concern, but even I’d still say this is a fair return for a single year of a player looking at a monster paycheck next winter. The Cardinals get better now, and get a chance to make Heyward the new face of their franchise, while the Braves probaby get better for the future.

And that makes this seem like a smart trade for both teams. The Cardinals get the better player and a chance to extend a player the Braves weren’t going to keep, while the Braves get some good young pitching to make a stronger run in 2016. This is a deal that serves the purposes of both sides. It might end up favoring one or the other, but at the time of the deal, it makes sense for both Atlanta and St. Louis.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

am I missing something here? This is not Jason Heyward 2012. Until something changes, he now has the stick of Nick Markakis and Markakis has been taking all sorts of crap lately. So, elite OF gloves are definitely not nothing, but I thought they generally don’t age as well as bats (or IFers) do… idk, this sounds an awful lot like another regrettable Elvis Andrus deal is going to happen…

Evan
Guest
Evan
1 year 6 months ago

Except Nick Markakis is one of the worst defensive outfielders in the game while Heyward is one of the best.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

that’s a crock. His range might not be what it once was but he’s the active leader in OF assists. Saying his defense is one of the worst is an enormous exaggeration but it’s beside the point anyway.

I acknowledged Heyward’s elite defense but how long will that last? If his bat is only marginally better than Markakis’s how is that a 200M player? You cannot pay for age alone.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
1 year 6 months ago

His bat and glove are better, has two seasons in a nine year career that are over 2.5 WAR. Heyward has four seasons in a five-year career that are over 2.5 WAR and his fifth season checks in at ~450 PA with a 2.0 WAR.

Even so, Markakis will earn close to 110 MM for his age 25-34 seasons, and it’s been six years since Markakis’ age-25 season. Heyward earning 200 MM for age-26 to age-35 isn’t ridiculous.

I, roboandrewJackson
Guest
I, roboandrewJackson
1 year 6 months ago

Ah, assists. The RBIs of defense.

So you’re saying that we should look at assists but dismiss most of the value from outfield range and age? Yeah, that’s clearly not crazy. *Wink* *Wink*

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
1 year 6 months ago

That should say Markakis has two seasons in his nine year career over 2.5 WAR.

cs3
Member
cs3
1 year 6 months ago

OF assists =/= “good defensive outfielder”

Exhibit A: Yoenis Cespedes
Exhibit B: Nick Markakis

Teej
Guest
Teej
1 year 6 months ago

The only positive number in Markakis’ “Defense” column (which accounts for throwing) was seven years ago. His career-long mediocrity there is a pretty nice sample size. His strong arm doesn’t come anywhere close to compensating for his inability to get to the baseball and catch it. I’d say the eye test bears that out as well.

So you’re adding “the stick of Markakis” to a player who is multiple wins better than Markakis defensively every year. The big difference in value seems easily explained by the big difference in talent.

Happy Fun Ball
Guest
Happy Fun Ball
1 year 6 months ago

Or, you could say that he leads in assists because baserunners simply aren’t afraid to test him.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

regardless, I didn’t come here to discuss NM’s defense. the opening statement couldn’t have been more clear.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

whatever. I guess some people can’t be happy unless they can find something to argue over.

Teej
Guest
Teej
1 year 6 months ago

Sorry that you didn’t come here to talk about Markakis’ defense, but when you’re asking why Jason Heyward is going to get paid a lot more than Nick Markakis, defense is going to be a big part of the answer.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

but defense usually doesn’t get paid the way the article is suggesting.

Anon
Guest
Anon
1 year 6 months ago

“that’s a crock. His range might not be what it once was but he’s the active leader in OF assists.”

Except. . . . .Markakis is not the career active leader in assists for an OF. He’s not even 2nd, he’s 5th behind Beltran, Torii Hunter, francouer and Ichiro.

Gotta get them facts right my man.

Jake deBomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

he’s the career leader since he’s been in the league.

Anon
Guest
Anon
1 year 6 months ago

Well, except that isn’t true either. Francoeur still has more than Markakis since Markakis came up in 2006.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Francoeur isn’t active. Why keep trying to trip me up??

BVHeck
Guest
BVHeck
1 year 6 months ago

Francoeur has not retired. Therefore he is still active.

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

what is with the constant trying to trip people up? who fucking cares if Jeff Francoeur hasn’t retired yet? Is that at all meaningful?

Anon
Guest
Anon
1 year 6 months ago

I don’t know, you posted it as fact man, not me. You want to deal in facts, you got to get the facts right. That was an easy one – it isn’t even opinion or a complicated advanced stat. You hinged your argument on Markakis being the active leader in OF assists but he ain’t.

Matthew Murphy
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Markakis is 31 and has had a wRC+ above 110 one of the past four years.
Heyward is 25 and has had a wRC+ below 110 just one year in his five-year career (2011).

Jake and Elroy
Guest
Jake and Elroy
1 year 6 months ago

We’re getting the band back together. We’re on a mission from god.

Elwood Blues
Guest
Elwood Blues
1 year 6 months ago

Close enough.

Teej
Guest
Teej
1 year 6 months ago

Heyward was a 5-win player last year and projects to be about the same. Markakis hasn’t been a 5-win player since 2008. And what those guys said.

Mark
Guest
Mark
1 year 6 months ago

Admittedly, Markakis was a bit older when he came up, but in reading about Heyward today I couldn’t help but make the Markakis comp myself. At the beginning of his career, Markakis was an athletic RF with good (not as good as Heyward’s) power, on base/contact skills and defense. His power and defense have steadily declined leaving him as not a particularly valuable player. A huge contract for Heyward could look bad very quickly.

I, roboandrewJackson
Guest
I, roboandrewJackson
1 year 6 months ago

Markakis was never that great of a defender, and like a hitter who has a freak outlier year, his 2008 season shouldn’t be considered his true talent at that point.

Over his first 4 years, Markakis produced 12 DRS in 5571 innings (2.15 per 1000) and 1.5 UZR/150. Over his first 4 years, Heyward produced 66 DRS in 4404 innings (15 per 1000) and 15.8 UZR/150.

Mark
Guest
Mark
1 year 6 months ago

That is a fair point. I mis-remembered. Heyward’s offense is still concerning, but presuming he defense doesn’t fall off a cliff, his value can weather an offensive decline more easily. That said, I’d still be pretty wary of a long-term, high value contract.

Erik
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

It should also be mentioned, there is no way Hayward signs for as little as Markakis did. If Hey ward were to become NK the contract he signs will end up being far worse.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
1 year 6 months ago

Nick Markakis has exceeded a 116 wRC+ just once since 2009, the year before Heyward broke into the league, and that specific year was injury-shortened and only 471 PA. Only twice has he exceeded a 107 wRC+ in those six years, and his best DEF rating is -2.5, which was in 2014. Nick Markakis got paid 66.1 MM for those six years and is expected to command 40 MM+ for 2015-2018, making his ten-year, age-25 to age-34 haul about 106 MM.

In three of Heyward’s five seasons, he has reached the 120 wRC+ mark, and has a career 117 wRC+ mark, with only one season – his rookie year, which happened to be the year that coincided with his best offense – being lower than a +4 DEF rating. He’s ranged from 96 wRC+ to 134 wRC+ in that time and has exceed 2.0 WAR every season of his career, while Markakis, who had also exceeded 2.0 WAR every year when he signed that 6-year extension, has only exceeded 2.0 WAR once in the last four years.

Heyward is a much better player who is reaching free agency, which Markakis didn’t do, at the same age Markakis signed a 6-year, 66 MM extension, basically. Heyward has a very good case for earning 200 MM from age 26-35 when you consider his superior offense, superior defense, and inflation.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

not looking at a lengthy history of either player; only what each appears to be now.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 6 months ago

To judge what they appear to be now, it is based to gather as much data as possible. It seems like anything that happened 2+ years ago should not relevant on our current-day projections, but it does have an impact.

peiderp
Guest
peiderp
1 year 6 months ago

Then all you have to do is go to the steamer 2015 projections.
Heyward: 127 wRC+
Markakis: 103 wRC+
This is not even close.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

sure, let’s leave everything to Steamer.

peiderp
Guest
peiderp
1 year 6 months ago

Yes, let’s. If you want to know the truth, sarcasm will not aid you any. I posted a comment farther down about MGL’s research on projections for someone else, and you need to read it as well to understand their value. The reality is that steamer can more accurately project true talent in offense better than any of us can. So in response to your original concern about what each player is now, the wRC+ for the 2015 season from steamer gives the best available answer.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

wow, what is with the anger that some people carry around and can’t take anything that doesn’t fall in line with the saber dogma… sheesh!

KDL
Guest
KDL
1 year 6 months ago

Saying Heyward is significantly better than Markakis has almost nothing to do with dogma.
I’ve seen the rest of your work in this thread…you can troll better than that.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

you can’t do any better than use the T word. lame.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

again, reading comprehension… I am speaking of stick to stick and please drop the pre-beaning Heyward from the discussion. We don’t know if that guy exists any longer. I can’t believe how nuance is lost on these allegedly smart readers.

Newbie
Guest
Newbie
1 year 6 months ago

Then to answer the question you posted above at 2:35 PM yesterday, you are obviously missing “something”, age and history as predictors as well as valuing the defense of each player.

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

forget about history. what Heyward does in 2015 is going to be the single biggest determining factor as to the contract he’ll be able to get thereafter. If he continues to be a 110 RC+ type of hitter slugging below 400 but with elite defense, that simply isn’t going to get him a 200M contract.

However, if he bounces back to have a better offensive season, then the market for him will be far more robust. 2015 is a big year for him, needless to say.

Brian
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

The key to your point may lie in how seriously the Cardinals intend to keep Heyward long term. If they’re going all-in for one year only, then the concerns about Heyward’s defense aging prematurely are fairly negligible. But if they want to make Heyward the ‘face of the franchise,’ as Dave says (and yes, they do have the cash to do that if they want), then your points are more well taken.

Evan Ruff
Guest
Evan Ruff
1 year 6 months ago

Also, I think it’s important to note that this does not preclude Atlanta from bidding on Heyward in FA if they so choose. Obviously, it’s going to be more expensive, but it’s still an option.

If Miller keeps it going and/or Jenkins breaks out, plus health from the rest of the Braves rotation, perhaps the window for contention will better line up with the hometown kid’s contract.

Basebard hosted by Shakey Bill
Guest
Basebard hosted by Shakey Bill
1 year 6 months ago

Wherefor art thou, fair comparison?

Yay verily, t’is the Heyward before us anon,
Yet sage Baseball Ref looks on his bearing, and
Finds Yon Closest Comparison (at age 24 years)
To lie in the green youthful pre-HGH visage of
One Barry Bonds.

Or rather: Heyward as Bonds’ C.C.,
With the estimable Lloyd Mosby closer yet
When looked at first thru the Heyward prism.

I hazard the Cards as fair curious upon which Quantum young Jason shall be found settled,
As may be all we here.

Of all that, you seem amiss.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

Ye forgotteth Baseball Ref comp #3:

Jeff Francoeur

Yes, 2 of Heyward’s top comps are Barry Bonds and Jeff Francoeur. Two guys you should just naturally associate with one another.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/braves-cardinals-swap-jason-heyward-shelby-miller/#comment-4812959

Basebard hosted by Shakey Bill
Guest
Basebard hosted by Shakey Bill
1 year 6 months ago

Ah, fair kanigget of the online thread,
T’is true that, once upon a whimssy,
Said since-unveiled Quixote of the Diamond Set
Sparked glorious visions of WAR-like splendor
Among the corporate gentry and managerial Machiavellis
Of the base-balling galaxy.

But t’would be prudent to take care, forsooth,
Lest to confuse
The charms of those enticing shadows of yester-year
With the base rotted-out reality as known today.
For, alas and alacky, tz,
Look ye ho and gaze upon the splendors
Of said Bonds, at 22, being best compared to …
Brunansky.

‘Seems t’is art, and chancey at that,
So much as a science and the divinations of wizards,
That we contemplate here.
Still and all: how cheaply bought by Saint Louis,
This lottery chance at what might be
Not just newt spring but for springs yet untold!

Johnston
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

I think I’d rather have the stupid horse back.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
1 year 6 months ago

If Heyward has Markakis’ stick, perhaps that explains why there’s not much market for Nick. If he’s able to find a new sick, maybe his market will open up.

Evan
Guest
Evan
1 year 6 months ago

Hopefully this will dispell some of the rediculous extension proposals people have been throwing in the 5/90 range

Wayne Campbell
Guest
Wayne Campbell
1 year 6 months ago

& maybe some of the ridiculous ones as well.

andrew l
Guest
andrew l
1 year 6 months ago

I feel like I’m more of a Heyward fan than most but I was floored by the suggestion he’s a +200 mil player. Is this a general consensus that I am unaware of??

Evan
Guest
Evan
1 year 6 months ago

Star players do not hit the FA market at such a young age. I think DAve might be overstating it a bit but his extension will certainly be over 180MM

Eric R
Guest
Eric R
1 year 6 months ago

Here are the MLB position player FAs I can find age 28 or younger [in the first year of their new deal], back to 2006, using ESPN FA tracker:

2011 Prince Fielder, 9/$214M

And Heyward will be a bit going into his age 26 season while Fielder was going into age 28.

Dan Ugglas Forearm
Member
Dan Ugglas Forearm
1 year 6 months ago

Not to mention that the league as a whole is richer now than it was in 2011. I think $200MM is easily what gets you into talks with Heyward.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

well if the Cards want to lose their reputation for being one of the better run franchises, yeah then they will be the one to give Heyward that 180M+ extension. Somehow I doubt that happens.

I, roboandrewJackson
Guest
I, roboandrewJackson
1 year 6 months ago

Yep. Every team doesn’t need to buy into his defensive performance for enough to buy in and his bidding to become $200ish million.

Teej
Guest
Teej
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah, a 26-year-old free agent is going to get paid big time, even if he hasn’t necessarily set the world on fire with his bat. You’re presumably buying the peak years of a guy who was good enough to make it to the majors at age 20 and stay there. It’s probably a better idea to throw money at a player like that than a “proven” guy who’s already 31 or whatever. And with the CBA preventing teams from spending money on the draft and international free agency, a free agent in his mid-20s is one of the more appealing places to throw that money.

Los
Guest
Los
1 year 6 months ago

Maybe the Braves should have left him in the minors for 2 weeks back in 2010.

James
Guest
James
1 year 6 months ago

But was a season of a cost controlled player worth missing out on a home run in his first at bat on opening day and tons of hype?

Hmmm…

Dan Ugglas Forearm
Member
Dan Ugglas Forearm
1 year 6 months ago

He hit a homer in his first PA of his second season, too. Coulda just used that one instead.

Anon21
Guest
Anon21
1 year 6 months ago

Maybe. They did make the playoffs by one game in 2010, so it’s hard to second guess the move.

sam
Guest
sam
1 year 6 months ago

I was thinking the same. Heyward’s baseball card stats are so unconvincing it is hard to believe that he’d ever go for that much. Plus, if he never turns it around with the bat he’s going to devalue quickly at the end of a 9 or 10 year deal because most of his value is defense and baserunning.

I was thinking something more like 7/140.

Preston
Guest
Preston
1 year 6 months ago

Obviously Stanton is the better player, but he’s getting 13/325 2 years prior to FA. Heyward is probably young enough and good enough to be looking at an 8 to 10 year deal(maybe a team goes longer to try to depress his AAV?). Whether the number is 180, 200 or more depends on who’s in the market next off-season.

Leoz
Guest
Leoz
1 year 6 months ago

If he has a big offensive season in St Louis he’ll easily end up being a $200mil guy. It will be interesting if he gets that payday while playing merely above-average offense. There’s a whole lot to like in his offensive projections but it’s more valuable to have produced elite production. The defense is elite and it’s great that teams are willing to spend big on elite defenders.

Hurtlockertwo
Guest
Hurtlockertwo
1 year 6 months ago

I agree, this guy is at best an average hitter. Elite RF defense is valuable, but not at $20 million a year. Hunter oence is a better overall pleyer than Heyward (better offense, worse defense) and look at the “outrage” at his contract.

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 6 months ago

Career average 117 wRC+, projected to be 127 in 2015. “Average hitter at best”.

dl80
Guest
dl80
1 year 6 months ago

I’m not sure if it means anything, but he’s been trending ever downward: 134, 96, 127, 120, 110.

Looks to me like the BABIP has normalized closer to the .300 mark and that has driven some of his offensive decline the past two years.

Also, his IFFB% has been all over the place: 8.4%, 21.8%, 8.1%, 16.7%, 11.2%. Is this random fluctuation, any sort of real change, just flukey? If he gets it back down to the 8% range, I think he’ll be very good or great offensively. If it’s in the mid-teens (or worse), he’s going to have a hard time maintaining a high enough BABIP to keep his average up. And if the power is just decent and not really good, that makes him only a bit above average offensively.

Then, everything is tied to hoping that a) his defense really is as good as we think it is, and b) it stays consistently great.

Or, the power comes back, he cuts down on the infield popups, and he gets back to being a 7+ WAR player. Lots of variation here (more than with Stanton, for sure).

DebbieDowner
Guest
DebbieDowner
1 year 6 months ago

This is all because of Oscar and I’m bummed out all over again.

TangoAlphaLima
Guest
TangoAlphaLima
1 year 6 months ago

Seems odd that Dave didn’t mention Oscar at all in the article. If he was still alive, this deal doesn’t get made.

Honestly seems like a bit of a knee jerk reaction by the Cardinals to me. I really doubt they’ll put up the kind of money needed to keep Heyward long term.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
1 year 6 months ago

They don’t need to with Piscotty and Grichuk around. Even so, with Holliday’s deal expiring soon, they could if they wanted to and just stick Grichuk or Piscotty in the other corner. Pitchng-wise, they still have Wainwright, Lynn, Wacha, Lackey and could use Carlos Martinez in the rotation now that there’s a spot.

semperty
Member
semperty
1 year 6 months ago

Going into next season they’ll also have Gonzales, with Garcia, Cooney, and Lyons all likely adding some number of innings out of the rotation (though not many). The Cardinals, even with the loss of Miller, is six deep in terms of average pitchers (in my opinion), and still have others that can put other work in.

Spa City
Member
Member
Spa City
1 year 6 months ago

Heyward was a 5 WAR player even when he was off his game in the hitting department. The Cardinals gave up a quality pitcher, but they are also set up to get an extra 1st round draft pick (comp round, but same difference, right?) if he chooses to leave. St. Louis should have Wacha and Gonzalez in the rotation full-time this year, so they had the rare luxury of extra starters.

The Cards talked a good game about trusting Piscotty to take over in RF, but I doubt anybody believed them. The Cardinals were already contenders, but this deal will put a lot of pressure on Pittsburgh to try to keep up.

Yelp
Guest
Yelp
1 year 6 months ago

Eno’s Fro:

Heyward is not Markakis.

I could write a lot here, but Posnanski has already addressed this two weeks ago so better to give him credit and save myself time:

Markakis’ defensive numbers are blah. He hasn’t had a positive Defensive WAR or a positive Dewan Plus/Minus since 2008.

Back to me:

On the other hand, Heyward won the Fielding Bible award for best RFer in the game and is a monster on defense.

I think this is a huge win for the Cards because they have a strong history of acquiring guys in their walk year and convincing them to stay (with good results after locking them up long term. McGwire, Holliday, and a host of others I’m forgetting right now).

If Heyward gets his hitting together – and he well might as 2015 is his age 25 season – he could be a monster. If not, and he performs just above average due to this major defensive value (which is unlikely to diminish at this age) then the Cards offer him the QO and (1) get him back for 2016 on a slightly expensive one year deal (again assuming a reasonable 2015 season) or (b) he doesn’t accept the QO and they get a compensation pick.

Either way, this is a very worthwhile gamble if you’re the Cards in my opinion.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Holy reading comprehension batman! I am comparing the stick to Markakis. The elite glove is acknowledged. Holy cow.

I think this deal says a lot more about what the Cards think of Shelby Miller. I could very easily see the Cards let Heyward walk rather than pony up 150M or more to extend him. That doesn’t sound like something the Cards would do at all.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
1 year 6 months ago

If you think Heyward’s bat is comparable to Markakis but his glove is a win+ better than Markakis’ and you acknowledge the age, then 200 MM is fine. Markakis is going to earn 110 MM~ for the ten year term in question, essentially. Once you account for superior offensive potential, superior defense, and inflation, you’re left with significantly higher salary numbers for Heyward. Heyward’s overall performance is miles better than Markakis’.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

but the problem is that nobody (should) cares about what Heyward did in 2012 (or before)… you know before he got beaned. If he’s just a 110 RC+ hitter now (he may be more but he’ll have to show that in 2015) that kind of hitter generally doesn’t get 180M+ even as an elite defender… and even if defense did get paid, elite defense hasn’t been shown to age as well as hitting does. So a contract like the kind that’s being talked about has a very high bust potential.

I could see him as a maybe 7/120M player, not much more.

Mike
Guest
Mike
1 year 6 months ago

Why the h*ll is Heyward getting hit relevant? That did not cause any lingering injuries?

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

wut? he hasn’t been the same hitter since. that’s all.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 6 months ago

but the problem is that nobody (should) cares about what Heyward did in 2012 (or before)

The projection systems care, and they care because they get more accurate results when they do care compared to when they don’t.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 6 months ago

wut? he hasn’t been the same hitter since. that’s all.

He had a 121 wRC+ in 2012 and a 110 wRC+ last year. So even if you’re right and getting hit is such a significant event as to make any prior data worthless, being “not the same hitter” translates to being only slightly worse, so even then I don’t see how it’s a big deal.

Mike
Guest
Mike
1 year 6 months ago

By since, you literally mean one season where he hit only slightly below his career norms? You do understand that player’s performances can vary a bit from year to year, right? Did you think he was a true talent 96 wRC+ hitter after his 2011 season?

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

maybe you don’t see Heyward, idk. the opinion that Heyward is not the same hitter as he was before being beaned is based in the eye test and is clearly backed up with data. Of course that can change, but until it does, you’ll have to accept that he has changed as a hitter to the extent that 110 is significantly less impressive than 120 RC+.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 6 months ago

What data backs it up? Because a 10 point drop in wRC+ is almost never an indication of a significant change in player talent level.

Eno's Fro
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

data? maybe you’ve been in a closet. Heyward got beaned in the jaw by a Jon Niese pitch on 8/20/13. Hasn’t been the same hitter since. You are free to ignore this “data” at your own peril.

Mike
Guest
Mike
1 year 6 months ago

We all know Heyward got beaned, and for the record, yes I do watch Heyward. What we want to know is what is your data that shows Heyward has not been the same hitter since?

Steve Perry
Guest
Steve Perry
1 year 6 months ago

~ “wut? he hasn’t been the same hitter since. that’s all.” ~

Small sample size and all, but he had a 137 wRC+ after he returned from the beaning last year.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
1 year 6 months ago

I think Eno’s fro doesn’t know the meaning of the word “data.”

If only this website had some data available to which he could refer. ..

Jake deBomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

hey Mike, you’re claiming that Eno’s Fro is wrong so what data can you use to refute the claim that Heyward isn’t the same as before getting hit in the jaw. It’s kind of obvious that his post-beaning performance has been worse than the pre-beaning performance. We all know how to pull up Heyward’s 2014 numbers and compare them to his previous seasons.

KDL
Guest
KDL
1 year 6 months ago

Anthony, that’s not really how arguing with logic works. Eno’s Fro made a dumb claim. It’s no one else’s job to prove it wrong. It is Eno’s Fro job to prove his point.
Eno’s Fro’s point does not become true because he said it first…and therefore it is unimpeachable until it is proven wrong by someone else.
If one makes a claim one must prove it. One doesn’t get to sit around as if it’s true until someone else shows it to be false.

ps-I know that Mike didn’t post them. But there is more than enough data in the other responses that your comment is disingenuous at best.

PWR
Guest
PWR
1 year 6 months ago

based on his chats, i sort of concluded that Dave thought Shelby Miller was close to worthless?

Kris
Guest
Kris
1 year 6 months ago

He was “broken” a few months ago

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

It think the trade is fair and fun. But I just don’t get the timing for the Braves. With Heyward and a bit of luck with pitching, they could have contended in 2015. Without Heyward, they might as well sell Justin Upton too because they aren’t contending with still favorite Nationals,the Mets with Harvey, or an improving Marlins

David G
Guest
David G
1 year 6 months ago

I think you answered your own question there: they have to be trading Upton as well.

Dan Ugglas Forearm
Member
Dan Ugglas Forearm
1 year 6 months ago

That’s nearly a given, at this point. The reports are that this is just the very beginning of a Braves sell-off, and Justin Upton is likely next. The early word is about a deal with the Mariners. They said the only players who are safe are Teheran, Wood, Minor, Kimbrel, Simmons, and Freeman. Not sure why Kimbrel is included. Seems like he’d make the most sense for a team looking to rebuild.

Bob Dylan
Guest
Bob Dylan
1 year 6 months ago

Also, BJ Upton may as well get his mind off wintertime.
He ain’t going..nowhere.

Don
Guest
Don
1 year 6 months ago

Wouldn’t Heyward want a shorter high AAV contract – 6 years for $120M roughly, to allow a chance at another big deal in his early 30s.

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

Players like security more than betting on themselves typically. Especially if you are glove first guy like Heyward whose skill set might age poorly.

t
Guest
t
1 year 6 months ago

Don’t be surprised to see him get a long term deal with the increasingly used player opt out. That’s a sweet clause for players.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 6 months ago

This. There is a lot of room for a player to have a serious decline over the course of a 6-year deal, but having the opt-out is essentially low-risk for the team, and potentially extremely high-reward for the player.

Dan Ugglas Forearm
Member
Dan Ugglas Forearm
1 year 6 months ago

Yep. I’m sure his agents will not only point to Stanton’s extension because of the years and money, but also because of the opt-out clause. I’m not sure if you have to be Giancarlo Stanton to have that kind of leverage, though. We’ll see. I’d love if more contracts contained opt-outs.

PackBob
Guest
PackBob
1 year 6 months ago

I’d feel fairly secure with $120M over 6 years. I might even retire and hope I can hang on with that amount.

Max Scherzer
Guest
Max Scherzer
1 year 6 months ago

Amateurs.

I, roboandrewJackson
Guest
I, roboandrewJackson
1 year 6 months ago

If he’s only taking 6 years, then he’s probably getting closer to $150 mil.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
1 year 6 months ago

I think he could get 10 years and close to 200 MM – like 180-190 MM – on the open market. Is four years from age 32-35 worth the additional 60-70 MM for Heyward? I’d think it might be.

Chili Davis
Guest
Chili Davis
1 year 6 months ago

Does anyone else think FG way overemphasizes the importance of steamer projections? They are directionally helpful but it doesn’t seem like they are extremely accurate. Yet so many opinions on this site are supported almost completely by steamer projections. Odd.

I, roboandrewJackson
Guest
I, roboandrewJackson
1 year 6 months ago

While I agree that Steamer isn’t flawless, what are you suggesting as an alternative means of projecting a player? I’d rather start with a projection, and then the analysis can go from there. That’s exactly what Dave does, and nowhere does he say Steamer will definitely predict the future. It’s odd that you think starting with a personal opinion is better than starting with a projection and then adding personal opinion.

Chili Davis
Guest
Chili Davis
1 year 6 months ago

Steamer isn’t flawless is a big understatement. And too often opinions are setup as “steamer says player x will do 5, so therefore he is a great player”. I just don’t think steamer is accurate enough to be relied on so heavily.

I, roboandrewJackson
Guest
I, roboandrewJackson
1 year 6 months ago

I’ll ask once again: What is your proposed alternative?

peiderp
Guest
peiderp
1 year 6 months ago

You need to read MGL’s work on how accurate projections for the next season and even in season at virtually any point in the season, and then you’ll understand how accurate steamer is. Short answer is that steamer is quite accurate and much more so than any analysis that can be done by any FG writer.

Johnston
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Link?

peiderp
Guest
peiderp
1 year 6 months ago

The work is all on his blog. Google “MGL projections” and you’ll surely find at least one of the links.

Dan Ugglas Forearm
Member
Dan Ugglas Forearm
1 year 6 months ago

I agree with your assessment that Steamer is far from perfect. But I don’t think many people here use it as an absolute. Dave just uses it here to kind of get in the ballpark of what to expect, and then elaborates on how he thinks the projection may be selling him short. Steamer projections are often used because they are available. There are no ZiPS projections out for 2015, or PECOTA, or really any other somewhat reliable projection systems. Steamer is at least out there, and uses enough criteria to get us relatively close. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen any writers here use it as a sure indication of what’s to come. I think that’s something perceived rather than intended.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
1 year 6 months ago

They’re the only ones presently available. Once the zips projections are out, they’ll refer to those as well.

Don Baylor's knee
Guest
Don Baylor's knee
1 year 6 months ago

Yes. Yes, they do.

KDL
Guest
KDL
1 year 6 months ago

I run into this mentality at my workplace all the time…
Proposed change is not perfect, but is a vast improvement over the status quo.
Since proposed change isn’t perfect my co-workers poo-poo the idea.
We continue to do the thing that is also not perfect, and far less efficient than the proposed change.

Was is perfection only the standard for new ideas?
Did scouting give us perfect answers? Did your personal opinion get everything right?

Aside from your strawman about how steamer gets used (as unimpeachable)…what exactly is worse about using it than any alternative.

Jim
Guest
Jim
1 year 6 months ago

There also two side benefits for the Cardinals: 1) By adding a power RH bullpen arm in Walden and subtracting Miller from the rotation I think it forces their hands and means we should see Carlos Martinez in the rotation where he belongs instead of wasted in the bullpen. 2) With Heyward secure in RF it forces MM’s hand and makes Grichuk a bench player where he belongs. He’s not an everyday player and has shown that he can’t consistently hit RHP at any level. Now he won’t get the chance and for the first time in many years they will actually have a legit RH bat off the bench.

Tom
Guest
Tom
1 year 6 months ago

Or, will Martinez be the 7th inning, and marco Gonzalez or someone else be the 5th SP?

Matthew Murphy
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Little mention of Walden here, who I think is a not-insignificant piece of the puzzle for a team hoping to contend the next couple years. With Neshek possibly departing, Rosenthal and Martinez are only relievers set to return who posted at least 0.5 WAR in 2014 (and Martinez might get a crack at the rotation).

Walden’s FIP- of 76 is the 28th best among relievers who have thrown at least 120 innings over the past three seasons – in the same ballpark as guys like Kelvin Herrera (74) and Ryan Cook (76). In that same group, his 28.8 K% ranks 23rd. Two years of team control at a reasonable price ($3M projected for 2015) with no risk has some value.

Dan Ugglas Forearm
Member
Dan Ugglas Forearm
1 year 6 months ago

I agree, Walden is quite good. He seemed to battle a lot of nagging, minor injuries, and I think Fredi Gonzalez probably misused him a good bit, but he was always solid. What isn’t mentioned is his changeup, which is a fantastic pitch when he’s throwing it well. His changeup usage more than doubled when he came to Atlanta, and even if it didn’t prove to be all that valuable, I think just having it makes his fastball better. When he keeps it down, it almost looks like a lefty curve. It moves left-to-right more than Chris Sale’s slider, and drops more than Felix’s sinker. And he throws it at about 91-92.

Brooks
Guest
Brooks
1 year 6 months ago

I agree, but I don’t think Walden can stay healthy. His mechanics are absolutely dreadful.

Paul Wilson
Guest
Paul Wilson
1 year 6 months ago

Walden in this trade reminds me of Wade Davis and James Shields.

Wayne Campbell
Guest
Wayne Campbell
1 year 6 months ago

Agreed. The ‘Trevor Rosenthal as a starter’ ship has likely sailed into the horizon but if St. Louis wanted to ‘get nuts’ on that front given the departure of Shelby Miller, Jordan Walden most certainly has closer stuff.

Ashlandateam
Guest
Ashlandateam
1 year 6 months ago

I get that it’s only one season. But it’s one season of an absolute stud in Heyward; surely Atlanta could have had a better return than a guy coming off a replacement level season and a 22 year old with a history of arm trouble, right? St. Louis seems to have convinced Atlanta that the next four years of Miller will be closer to his 2013 than his 2014, and I just don’t see any evidence that’s the case.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 6 months ago

This trade is not even that different the Price deal. It’s unlikely any of the players the Braves get will be nearly as good as what they gave up. If they were, it would be a huge steal for Atlanta. However, we are always biased towards assuming the team that got the best player won the deal. It’s very hard for us to do this calculation in our heads: how many cheap years of a decent player are worth 1-2 years of a star? Presumably there is an answer.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

Exactly. That was my thinking on any possible Jordan Zimmerman/Mookie Betts deal, and the prevailing complaint on the Samardzija/Russell deal.

Ashlandateam
Guest
Ashlandateam
1 year 6 months ago

Sure. But is Shelby Miller even ‘decent’ at this point? Smyly had shown two years of being good (1.8 and 1.9 WAR, respectively) as a swingman/bullpen piece before last season (where he seemed to solidify himself as at least a league average starter in Tampa). Miller was worth 0.2 WAR in 2014. He was better in 2013, but I would think that any trade of Miller this offseason would be selling low. But packaging him with another arm to get Heyward/Walden back seems to be full value on the potential he showed in 2013. That’s what bugs me about this deal from Atlanta’s end; they got back a guy as the headliner whose value (at least from the outside looking in) has never been lower.

Lanidrac
Guest
Lanidrac
1 year 6 months ago

Not really. Miller really seemed to turn the corner in August once his curveball got going. Also, just because he’d be the #5 starter in St. Louis doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be a #3 or #4 for many other teams. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you get from him.

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

In a side note, Heyward had a pretty severe platoon problem vs. lefties in 2014. A 39 wRC+ in 159 PA is brutal.

Ashlandateam
Guest
Ashlandateam
1 year 6 months ago

Lefties should be death for the Cardinals in 2015. Their everyday lineup with Carpenter, Heyward/Jay, Adams and Wong shouldn’t be too difficult to navigate through if you’re left handed.

Other than Kershaw, of course.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
1 year 6 months ago

Grichuk demolished lefties in the minors. Could be a platoon possibility, at least sometimes.

Felix
Guest
Felix
1 year 6 months ago

Carpenter and Jay have very modest splits, almost neutral. Wong had reverse splits last season.

So only Heyward and Adams are really vulnerable to lefties and you’d figure Grichuk is going to get plenty of ABs against them.

Ashlandateam
Guest
Ashlandateam
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah, you’re right – St. Louis has plenty of depth and that it shouldn’t be an issue, even if Carpenter, Jay and Wong don’t repeat the neutral/reverse splits in 2015.

Jimbo
Guest
Jimbo
1 year 6 months ago

expect to see a good bit of matt holliday at 1b vs. lefties if the cards do not sign corey hart or similar 1b platoon man

awalnoha
Member
awalnoha
1 year 6 months ago

10 years and $200 mil seems insane for Heyward. He has yet to take the next step and has only seem to regress since he entered the league which indicates that pitchers figured him out. He is a good player but I am shocked by that. I would not want my team to pay that for him. Someone may, but it seems really high.

I, roboandrewJackson
Guest
I, roboandrewJackson
1 year 6 months ago

You don’t want to pay him $200 mil for 10 yr because he hasn’t taken the next step in his offense, also known as becoming Mike Trout?

Jay
Guest
Jay
1 year 6 months ago

WRC+ J. Hey- 116 over the last 3 years; its more of a moon shot to get to Trout not quite the next step in evolution.

It just seems hard to believe that someone will pay 200mm for a defense first RF who has a below average (RF) bat.
His ISO was 113 this past year (albeit 210 in 2012). That’s a lot of ducats to spend on very little power (non-injured year)

Dan Ugglas Forearm
Member
Dan Ugglas Forearm
1 year 6 months ago

Actually, the average wRC+ for RF was 100 in 2014. He has finished above the average RF wRC+ every season except for 2011, which was filled with injuries. Even if you don’t believe a run saved is equal to a run produced, you could dock him for that and he’d probably still be a 5 WAR player. Considering he’ll be signing away FA years after he’s only 25, why is $200MM hard to believe?

Jay
Guest
Jay
1 year 6 months ago

Median does not equal mean.
Three year running avg of wrc+ puts him at around 50%.
He has been 14.8 war player over last three with a massive amount of value coming in form of defense.
Again 113 ISO is really low. His best ISO would still be pretty low.
No player has gotten 200 mm.
What’s most interesting is that I can’t find a great comparable in terms of age, off, and def value. God bless him if/when he gets it

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
1 year 6 months ago

That doesn’t really indicate that pitchers have figured him out. I’ve been talking about Heyward getting 200 MM on the open market for about a year now, since he signed that 2/13.3 MM extension with Atlanta to avoid arbitration. It doesn’t really seem that preposterous. Very many players of his talent level deserve 20 MM a year, and he’s young enough that ten years isn’t insane.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 6 months ago

He is clearly worth $20 million a year. It’s 10 years that seems like a lot, but it’s hard to find comparable players to him that are also as young.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

One comparable player that’s the same age is Giancarlo Stanton. Here’s their WAR over their five years in the majors:

2010 Heyward 4.6 Stanton 2.3
2011 Heyward 2.0 Stanton 3.2
2012 Heyward 6.3 Stanton 5.6
2013 Heyward 3.4 Stanton 2.3
2014 Heyward 5.1 Stanton 6.1

Total Heyward 21.4 Stanton 19.5

Both have had some injuries, but both have fairly well-rounded skill sets and shouldn’t age overnight like say Prince Fielder. So if Stanton is worth well over $20 million per year for his age 26-35 seasons, Heyward could expect something pretty close.

Eric
Guest
Eric
1 year 6 months ago

The market does pay quite as well for defense as it does for offense

Eric
Guest
Eric
1 year 6 months ago

obviously, I meant to say doesn’t

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

Power will age significantly better than defense/speed though.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

I agree that the market will pay more for offense than defense. But if Stanton’s getting over $300M guaranteed, Heyward wouldn’t look foolish asking for $200M guaranteed.

And I also agree that power ages better than speed or defense. However, Heyward is still young enough that with any kind of real MLB hitting coach he conceivably could increase his power to the 30+ HR range. So, unlike Stanton, he does have a little room to grow his offense.

Cliff
Guest
Cliff
1 year 6 months ago

Defense/speed ages better than power. That’s what the research says.

Brian Petti
Guest
Brian Petti
1 year 6 months ago

This is a guy who had a .384 SLG in 2014. .384! Other than age, I think Alex Gordon is a good comp–both defensive studs with flawed offensive games that are driven by decent OBP and good baserunning. Gordon is making about $12.5 million this year. I understand that Heyward is going to hit free agency (or extension) at 25, but even given his age I don’t see him as a $20 mil/year player. Not unless he goes completely off offensively this year. As of right now I think he is a stud on only one side of the ball. And those guys don’t get paid as much, even in the post-saber world.

Rome
Guest
Rome
1 year 6 months ago

Dave, I’m trying to be as rational a braves fan as one could be right now. I understand the extenuating circumstances giving the braves an impetus to trade an outfielder–low payroll, bad tv contract, depleted farm system etc. However, is there some argument to be made that the braves could have gotten more, either now or at the midpoint of the baseball season? Also, when rebuilding a club would it not be in the best interest to rebuild around hitters as opposed to pitchers? It seems to me at least that pitchers are somewhat dubious as long term assets–arms and shoulders go flying off at a moment’s notice. Maybe this is in fact the best option the braves could have made and John Hart did in fact exhaust all his potential trade options. I really want to believe that, but I admittedly get cynical off decision making processes when I hear talks about putting gattis in left field. Maybe that’s the reactionary fan in me. Still, I think this day is a sad one for braves fans because our inability to keep Heyward points to larger mistakes made in the past, most notably the poor tv and player contracts.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 6 months ago

Yes, unfortunately I think that extending Heyward is the best move for their future quality, but this move is probably best for their future payroll flexibility.

Meat Cart
Guest
Meat Cart
1 year 6 months ago

A little upset that “the good Upton” didn’t link to Justin’s player page

dl80
Guest
dl80
1 year 6 months ago

Or here: The Good Upton

Steve
Guest
Steve
1 year 6 months ago

Sweet mother of Pearl.

DBA455
Guest
DBA455
1 year 6 months ago

The Braves know their downside: Heyward’s 2015 production, plus the right extend a QO/likely get a supplemental pick. The former, ex-ante, is probably worth about $20-$25M. I have forgotten what the latest estimates are there.

For 4 years of control over Miller (one very cheap, pre arb; 3 arb years. I think).

Plus the secondary players.

I was going to do the math on this … but I don’t have the time after all. Maybe someone else will.

Encino Man
Guest
Encino Man
1 year 6 months ago

You can’t really “do the math” on this because the variance of Miller is huge. Even if we can predict Heyward’s production reasonably well and we know about Walden, the other two are complete wild cards. One may never make it to the majors. The other could be anywhere from an arguable #2 starter to an 7th/8th inning guy (admittedly those two bookends are both probably unrealistic).

DBA455
Guest
DBA455
1 year 6 months ago

The point I was (hastily) trying to make is that since you can give a pretty solid estimate of the 2015 value the Braves are losing, you can solve for for what kind of contribution Miller needs to make over ’15-’18 for this to be an even deal (ignoring the secondary pieces for the sake of simplicity).

About 5 war above and beyond what they are paying for through arbitration, over 4 years.

LONNIE
Guest
LONNIE
1 year 6 months ago

I would only invest in Heyward long-term if I was confident was offense would hold up. I wouldn’t pay that much for a guy if I didn’t think he was well-above average on offense. The defensive metrics out there seem to really fluctuate alot from year-to-year so you can’t count on that value from a player every season.

DBA455
Guest
DBA455
1 year 6 months ago

This is barely coherent. Apologies.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
1 year 6 months ago

I can comprehend it just fine. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Brian
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

One lurking element behind this deal: the rise of the Cubs. The Cubs seem poised to contend in 2015, but (depending on what they do in the FA market) they may not really hit their stride until 2016. That gives the Cards perhaps one more year as prohibitive favorites in the NL Central, hence the deal.

Fascinating how closely it mirrors the Drew-for-Wainwright trade from 10 yrs ago or so: a LHH left-fielder with a broad skill set in a walk year going to a perennial contender in exchange for a young stud, cost-controlled righty pitcher. That one worked out great for the Cards. Will the Braves exact revenge with this deal or eat it again? We shall see…

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

Totally agree on the Cubs angle. It makes sense for them to go all-in over the next year or two.

Not sure about the Drew-for-Wainwright. That was more of a lottery ticket-for-proven veteran deal, like the one that sent Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander. Miller is still a crapshoot, but I think with a higher floor and a lower ceiling.

Erubiel durazo
Guest
Erubiel durazo
1 year 6 months ago

Hate to nitpick but Drew was not a proven vet. He was coming off a stream of hype, injury proneness and a breakout year. Really in a lot of ways was like Heyward only j-hey hasn’t broken out offensively since April/may 09

Johnston
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

I can’t wait until the Cubs rise up and kick the Cardinals into oblivion.

Da Bears
Guest
Da Bears
1 year 6 months ago

1904

Matthew
Guest
Matthew
1 year 6 months ago

“Adam Wainwright is probably just about finished as an ace, and is headed for a decline.”

Dave, what’s your thinking here? Are there indicators of a decline, or are you just assuming that he’s bound to decline in his mid-30s?

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
1 year 6 months ago

I think it’s age, plus the various arm issues he encountered this season. He went through what he described as a “dead arm” period this year, and then there was the pain he was dealing with in the postseason. Still, that sentence read as a little extreme to me.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
1 year 6 months ago

Wasn’t he just 3rd in CYA voting?

Bad Bill
Guest
Bad Bill
1 year 6 months ago

Agreed, that comment strikes me as a Cardinals non-fan whistling past the graveyard, but Wainwright has such a weird skill set that it is difficult to make a reasonable guess as to his future trajectory. It’s interesting to look at the comparables for WW asserted by various projection systems. Relatively few are 6’7″ RHPs who only sit around 90-92 with their fastballs, but throw curves that start out high in the strike zone and end up in Indonesia, with excellent control on the way down there. I would trust statements about WW’s future less than those for almost any pitcher with as long a track record in the majors as his — which doesn’t necessarily mean that Dave’s statements aren’t right.

Grant
Guest
Grant
1 year 6 months ago

I’m pretty sure that his K% was down, BB% was up, and velocity was down too. He’s not falling off a cliff next year, but Dave didn’t really suggest he would either. He’s just probably beginning the descent.

Naliamegod
Guest
Naliamegod
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah, he just says he probably won’t be an “ace” IE a guy you can pencil in being atleast a 5 win pitcher every year. It doesn’t mean he won’t still be a quality pitcher.

Monkeyepoxy
Guest
Monkeyepoxy
1 year 6 months ago

Can Shelby Miller throw a changeup that isn’t utter shit yet?

Theo
Guest
Theo
1 year 6 months ago

If heyward is such a great defensive outfielder why doesn’t he play center? Center fielders have to cover much more ground than corner guys and if you put even average center fielders in the corners they tend to put up much improved numbers.

So what I’m looking at is a center fielder with a ~730 ops last year. I think he’s overrated.

Roberto Clemente
Guest
Roberto Clemente
1 year 6 months ago

Right?

tungtwista
Guest
tungtwista
1 year 6 months ago

Ichiro was/is a terrific defensive outfielder.
However, his defense at center field wasn’t that great.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 6 months ago

Giancarlo Stanton 2012-2014 14 WAR
Jason Heyward 2012-2014 14.8 WAR
Heyward played in 20 more games.

Stanton has the HRs, but Heyward has the D and the BB%.
Heyward has been equal to Stanton the past 3 years.
They are both 25

Stanton gets 325 mil 2 years before free agency.
Why would Heyward get less than 200 mil as a free agent? Another 5+ War season from Heyward and we could be looking at 275-300 million for Heyward.

Dioner Navarro
Guest
Dioner Navarro
1 year 6 months ago

Because nobody pays that kind of money for defense.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 6 months ago

And nelson cruz hits 40 HRs and won’t get paid a lick.
Andrus hit 280 with 2 homers and got paid 120 mil.

Say what?

BaseballGuy
Guest
BaseballGuy
1 year 6 months ago

Andrus is a SS. If Heyward were a C, SS, or CF, his defensive value would be more believable.

Josh
Guest
Josh
1 year 6 months ago

have you been under a rock the past couple of years?

Chris F. Carpenter
Guest
Chris F. Carpenter
1 year 6 months ago

No, he can’t.

Miller is a high pitch count, fastball reliant pitcher who only late-year began to spot a curve for strikes under the instruction of John Lackey.

Not a lot of stamina, generally only good for 80 pitches or so on his good days.

And I hate his mechanics, which all these numbers don’t measure. The Braves are going to lose him for a year to the knife soon – within the cost-controlled window – for certain.

Not a lot of return for Heyward, IMHO.

Paul
Guest
Paul
1 year 6 months ago

Totally agree. Heyward is at least worth a Lance Lynn caliber arm. Miller is crap.

BaseballGuy
Guest
BaseballGuy
1 year 6 months ago

One year. You don’t get a king’s ransom for one year. Even Mike friggin’ Trout doesn’t get what you might expect for one year of service. Heyward could break a hand getting HBP in Spring Training and that would be it for his Cards career. Overall, it’s a fair deal, but not a particularly consequential one in my book.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 6 months ago

But 4 years of Miller has more value than 3 years of Lynn
Miller also has a lower career ERA

Wayne Campbell
Guest
Wayne Campbell
1 year 6 months ago

I’m not so sure about your first sentence there & especially at this juncture.

The Dude
Guest
The Dude
1 year 6 months ago

“Jason Heyward is a stud, and you don’t even have to buy into defensive metrics to agree with that statement.”

Umm, yeah you do, or at least you need to buy into Steamer, which claims he’ll have his best offensive year since 2010. I mean maybe, yeah, he’s that age – but can you count on it?

“…especially if they flip Peter Bourjos for a starting pitcher to replace Miller, which shouldn’t be too terribly difficult.”

Uhh, what sort of starting pitcher are they going to get for a 4th outfielder?

You guys drink your own koolaid, I get it. But don’t confuse how you value WAR with how major league executives do. Heyward is a good player, even a very good one – but he’s not the superstar you claim him to be, not with that .781 career OPS that isn’t getting any better. The same goes for Bourjos, but down an octave. He’s a great 4th outfielder and a starting center fielder in a pinch, but he’s not going to get you anything more than a #4-5 starter, maybe a #3 on a bad contract.

Jim
Guest
Jim
1 year 6 months ago

I agree. I don’t know what Dave was thinking on that Borjous comment. He won’t return any MLB starter in a one for one deal.

BaseballGuy
Guest
BaseballGuy
1 year 6 months ago

The stat nerds REALLY love Bourjos. I really have no idea why, even on their own terms. He’s a good defensive CF but there are dozens of those around. If they trade him they’re lucky to pick up a good relief pitcher (not that they need one of those) or a B prospect.

Matthew Cornwell
Guest
Matthew Cornwell
1 year 6 months ago

He doesn’t need to. Martinez and Gonzales are likely both better than Miller anyway. I’d keep Jay and PB. It not like Holliday and Hayward won’t miss some time.

Brooks
Guest
Brooks
1 year 6 months ago

I agree. Heyward is a wonderful outfielder, but according to Inside Edge Fielding, Heyward made all of 11 plays in 2014 identified as unlikely or remote. So the question is how much defensive value is there with a rightfielder who turns a really tough play into an out less than twice a month? Especially a rightfielder with an erratic arm?

BaseballGuy
Guest
BaseballGuy
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah it is a little odd. I think he’s clearly a good outfielder — the eye test will tell you that — but as a RF I really doubt he’s responsible for 2.5 wins a year or whatever with his glove. I believe the Braves just took advantage of an inefficiency: the tendency of defensive metrics to go spectacularly off the rails on occasion.

Matthew Cornwell
Guest
Matthew Cornwell
1 year 6 months ago

Hasn’t he been around +20-25 per 600 PA every season? Going off the rails every year for the same player? And aren’t DRS, UZR, and DRA all in solid agreement with Heyward?

Ian
Guest
Ian
1 year 6 months ago

OF defense typically exchanges extra base hits for outs. How much value does it add on offense to tally 35 doubles a season vs. 46?

Phantom Stranger
Guest
Phantom Stranger
1 year 6 months ago

Heyward has a very reliable arm. It’s not the absolute best RF arm in the game but he cuts balls off quickly and usually makes very solid throws.

He is the best defensive RF in the game going off last year, but I think the advanced metrics are overvaluing his contributions. His defense is not a statistical mirage. One wonders if you can really build a defense around a RF?

markjd
Member
Member
markjd
1 year 6 months ago

1. The Cardinals would not do this unless they knew they would extend. The Cardinals do not “go all-in” for 1 season. They create and follow longer-range plans. Have people not noticed this? They have plenty of money to spend. Just because they’ve been able to be consistently great on $110m payroll doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t go higher. ESPECIALLY for a 25-year old stud.
2. Do not be surprised when Heyward plays a lot of CF this year. The Cardinals surely realize he’s a better option than Jon Jay out there. Then Heyward moves to RF when Bourjos replaces jay/grichuk.
3. Exceptional defense has not historically yielded high contract values. But, um, the Royals. They made it to the world series on outfield defense and baserunning. Kinda thought everyone saw that. It is assured that the price of exceptional defense will be increasing. The Cardinals will give him his $200m+ and be very happy about it.

posteritybot
Guest
posteritybot
1 year 6 months ago

The Cardinals would not do this unless they knew they would extend. The Cardinals do not “go all-in” for 1 season. They create and follow longer-range plans. Have people not noticed this?

Brooks
Guest
Brooks
1 year 6 months ago

1. I think that’s very improbable. If the Cardinals and Heyward came to a contract extension agreement, it would be signed. Heyward isn’t signing shit until he tests the market. If Heyward were willing to sign an extension in lieu of testing the FA market, the Braves would have already extended him as they have done with Freeman, Simmons and Teheran. The Braves can afford Heyward with back-loading a deal, especially with the Uptons both being off the books after 2017.

2. Also highly improbable: Heyward is not playing CF with Jay and Burjos around. To do so would be against the Cardinals’ interest because Heyward would command several million more dollars on the free agent market as a centerfielder than as a corner outfielder.

3. The Royals made it to the World Series because they got hot at the right time, hit in the clutch, ran efficiently and effectively on the basepaths, and had three unhittable relief pitchers. Their outfield defense, terrific as it was, could all take a nap with Herrera, Davis and Holland pitching the last three innings in every close game.

Lanidrac
Guest
Lanidrac
1 year 6 months ago

1. The Cardinals do have a history of using stopgaps, though. The plan right now is for either Grichuk or Piscotty to take over RF once Heyward walks.

2. No, not likely. While Heyward is a better overall CF than Jay in a vacuum, that ignores the fact that they then need somebody else to play RF. And Bourjos? He already lost his chance at a starting job when he couldn’t hit enough. Jay is an underrated .290+ career hitter who gets on base a lot, hits other lefties reasonably well, and plays an above-average defensive CF. He’s just fine as the starting CF for the next two years.

Famous Mortimer
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

1. How do you know that’s the plan? I read the same papers and sites as you do, and you’re the first person I’ve heard say that anything close to definitively.

mike Martino
Guest
mike Martino
1 year 6 months ago

Hawyard @ 200 million is insane

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah that would be insanely cheap. He will get closer to 300 mil.

Da Bears
Guest
Da Bears
1 year 6 months ago

300 mil for a guy who can’t hit lefties? I’m glad you aren’t running my team.

Robert J. Baumann
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Dave, do we know anything about when or if IFFB% stabilizes? Does that make any difference in the way we might project Miller? His IFFB%’s haven’t been insane, but they have been above average for over 370 IP and 1000+ BIP (at which point even LD% appears to stabilize). Barring a change in Miller’s plan/approach/repertoire, should we assume regression here?

BaconBall
Guest
BaconBall
1 year 6 months ago

I posted this on Rotographs the other day (http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/jason-heyward-powers-down/):
BaconBall says:
November 12, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Jason Heyward hit .304/.384/.436 against RHP for an OPS of .820, or an sOPS+ of 136. Against LHP Jay Hey hit a woeful .169/.252/ .225 with an OPS of .477, for a pitiful sOPS+ of 37. This is not a fluke because his lifetime slash line against RHP is .281/.374/.466 with an OPS of .839; sOPS 115. Against southpaws Jay Hey has hit .221/.301/.349 for an OPS of .650; sOPS of only 67.
It is obvious the Jay Hey kid is, at best, a player who needs to be platooned.
This brings up an interesting point about Fangraphs. All players statistics are lumped together when each and every player is, in reality, two separate, distinct, players. Both batters and pitchers are different, often much different, against opposite handed players, yet one would never know that from an article like this. Jay Hey is above average hitting against RHP, but way below hitting against LHP. Unless and until that distinction is made, articles like this are practically worthless.

Lanidrac
Guest
Lanidrac
1 year 6 months ago

This is a good point. We might just see Grichuk and Piscotty getting more playing time in RF than we thought when this trade was made.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

I’m not so sure in Heyward’s case. He had NO platoon splits in the minors (he crushed both LHP and RHP) and was above-average against LHPs his rookie year.

But between his wrist injury his sophomore season and the ineptitude of the Braves’ hitting instructors, his swing became a mess. For a guy who’s just 25, there’s still a chance he could get his hitting back to the potential Silver Slugger level he showed up through his rookie year. Including an above-average bat against lefties.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
1 year 6 months ago

Braves aren’t that far off from contending. Healthy SP and positive regression/young guys getting better could have put them in the playoffs.

I hate this trade. Miller has has injury issues and is likely close to a finished product. Heyward has two great skills that don’t really slump (speed, defense). If his bat takes off, he’s an MVP.

Not only that, but I don’t buy they wouldn’t resign him. Defense is generally undervalued and they could backload the contract to coincide with the new ballpark revenue.

If you do buy the unsignability, so what? Why trade him now for Miller? Why not wait until mid year? Why not just collect the draft? You will now have (unless they sign someone), one of the worst defensive OF in the game.

Braves incurred more risk and lost more with this trade that they didn’t have to make.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

If the new ballpark does up their revenue, then there’s no reason for the Braves to be cheap. And like you say, Miller doesn’t have a lot of upside, so he’s probably just “a guy” who they can keep inexpensively.

If the Braves truly were going to blow things up, I’d much rather see them do something like Kimbrel + Heyward for Profar + Gallo. At least the Rangers aren’t overreacting to a “lost” season.

Kevin Boyle
Guest
Kevin Boyle
1 year 6 months ago

This trade speaks more for the Cards opinion of Miller than anything else. They see him as a back of the rotation pitcher – 4th or 5th in starting rotation. They obviously feel they have other pitchers (Martinez, Gonzalez, etc.) that can fill that role. They won’t offer Heyward a big time contract until they see what he’s all about. They do have money to spend on what they consider a “core” player and I think their hoping he’s one of those guys.

Dave Silverwood
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Great deal maybe these two clubs have the right idea—hope Jocketty notices and gets off the couch and does something.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
1 year 6 months ago

How much did the Braves lose out on for trading this early? I know there’s a (probably) curve that rises closer to opening day then decreases near July 31st given Hey’s 1 year status. So why wouldn’t the Braves wait until closer to opening day for more interest to rise? Other clubs looking for OF help could have just said “meh, we’ll wait and see”. I doubt Miller would be the best the Braves could get.

Also, as Kevin Boyle said, what does this say about Miller? Teams have the best information on starters, I’m thinking the Cards don’t like Miller’s long term chances. Plus they have pitching depth, Braves don’t have OF depth. Don’t like the trade or more, the timing, of the trade for Atlanta.

joe spickard
Guest
joe spickard
1 year 6 months ago

I like this trade a lot better if the Cardinals were to sign Matt Scherzer.

The Cardinals can’t immeasurably improve their offense, which they need to. But with every other team trying to do the same and driving up the FA price or trade value of established power hitters, they opted for the best defense in the game in RF instead. Since “pitching and defense” do win games, a signing of Scherzer to fill the opening left by Miller, would look really great.

It may not cost the Cardinals as huge a sum either as compared to other teams since Scherzer reportedly would really like to pitch in his hometown.

I like this trade for St. Louis. There appears to be something more going on with Miller. The timing seems a little skewered though with the Taveras loss. It appears that the Cardinals just had to do something to get past the immediate tragedy.

Matthew Cornwell
Guest
Matthew Cornwell
1 year 6 months ago

Not lots of pop, but they should project to be above average wOBA at every position next year. Great OB% up and down the lineup. And if Matt Adams stops trying to beat the shift and with Wong playing every day, they should not be at the very bottom of the league in slugg%.

Heck, they were league average last year in RC+ and wOBA despite the Molina’s injury, all of the PB playing-time, Wong benched half the year, and having a black-hole of nothingness in RF all season.

JeremyR
Guest
JeremyR
1 year 6 months ago

Yup. I’d much rather the money go to him than extending Heyward.

.
Guest
.
1 year 6 months ago

By a hometown discount (if he’s actually serious unlike most who say this same thing), I can’t imagine Scherzer would sign for less than 6 yr, $126 mil deal.

Lanidrac
Guest
Lanidrac
1 year 6 months ago

Seriously? They just doled out a bunch of their remaining budget on Heyward and Walden, and they already have one of the best rotations 1-4 (Wainwright, Lynn, Lackey, and Wacha) in baseball with lots of depth remaining (Garcia, Gonzalez, Martinez) to fill the 5th spot. Why would they ever consider signing Scherzer?

joe spickard
Guest
joe spickard
1 year 6 months ago

… sorry,… “measurely” improve

JeremyR
Guest
JeremyR
1 year 6 months ago

In some ways, this is a case of sabermetrics vs traditional stats.

The former say Heyward is a great player and Shelby Miller is crap, while the latter is the opposite (or at least closer to that, that Hayward is an average hitter that needs to be platooned and Miller is a decent starter)

Johnston
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

The Braves are so trashed that they are going to be toast again next year no matter what they do. This trade arguably makes them better in the years after that, and is therefore good for them.

It’s sure not going to help their record next year, though.

Doc Holliday
Guest
Doc Holliday
1 year 6 months ago

Strange the were so extension crazy, yet never seemed to make much fuss over Heyward. I would think they would’ve at least made some sort of public indication they’d tried, but so far nothing. Just a “it’s probably not possible, but I dunno” from Hart.

Doc Holliday
Guest
Doc Holliday
1 year 6 months ago

Here marks a strange day. The grimy, tight-fisted Loria shells out $300 million for his right fielder whilst ATL runs from commitment to their own.

Doc Halladay
Guest
Doc Halladay
1 year 6 months ago

I pitched a perfect game. Who the hell are you?

Doc Holliday
Guest
Doc Holliday
1 year 6 months ago

I’m either a deceased American gambler, gunfighter, and dentist from the Wild West (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doc_Holliday) or I’m currently the head coach of Marshall University’s football team (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doc_Holliday_%28American_football%29). You choose which one you think I am.

Doc Holliday
Guest
Doc Holliday
1 year 6 months ago

Imposter!

Doc Holliday
Guest
Doc Holliday
1 year 6 months ago

I’m your huckleberry.

Doc Holiday
Guest
Doc Holiday
1 year 6 months ago

I’m a day when your medical provider is not in the office.

Dock Holiday
Guest
Dock Holiday
1 year 6 months ago

I’m a vacation on the lake.

Doc Hollandaise
Guest
Doc Hollandaise
1 year 6 months ago

I’m made from egg yolk and butter.

Jason S.
Guest
Jason S.
1 year 6 months ago

The Braves have operated under a hard internal spending cap for years and that just began to be loosened last year. There’s still a limit to what the owners will spend. It’s likely that the Braves concluded that they could only afford to try to extend one of Justin Upton and Jason Heyward and they went for Heyward first. I expect them to attempt to extend J Upton and trade him if that fails.

Lanidrac
Guest
Lanidrac
1 year 6 months ago

Wow, this is one of the worst researched articles I’ve seen on Fangraphs in a while!

First of all, the Cardinals aren’t very interested in extending Heyward and certainly not at $200M+. He’s meant to be a stopgap until either Grichuk or Piscotty are ready to take over RF (or maybe Grichuk takes over CF when Jay is a free agent in two years). Also, you failed to note that Holliday’s contract contains an option year that has a good chance of being picked up at this point. Besides, spending all that money on Heyward (who is not a superstar caliber player in the first place; don’t trust his WAR numbers until someone actually develops a good defensive metric to use as the basis for Defensive WAR) would mean less chance of extending potential young stars like Lynn, Wong, and Adams.

Next, why would the Cardinals trade Borjous for a starting pitcher? Borjous makes a very nice backup outfielder on what is currently a pretty weak bench; while Jaime Garcia, Marco Gonzalez, and Carlos Martinez now have the opportunity to battle each other for the 5th spot in the rotation. While anything they get from Garcia is likely a bonus at this point, Gonzalez has the potential to be the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year, and Martinez is no slouch himself when it comes to his potential as a starting pitcher.

While your analysis of Miller is very detailed, you left out one very important argument (although to be fair, most people outside St. Louis have also ignored it). He seems to have turned the corner in his development back in August once he started using his much improved curveball a lot more. The “Cain or Helickson” argument is looking a lot more like Cain at this point. Braves fans should be drooling at the potential a young stud like Miller offers.

Famous Mortimer
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Firstly – again – unless you work for the Cardinals, you don’t know any better than Dave, or me, or anyone else here, what’s being planned for this year and the future. Unless Mozeliak has made a statement about not extending him in the last day?

Bourjos off the bench is the worst use for him, given his not-exactly-great batting. Grichuk is a better bench option, honestly, and is a great deal cheaper.

They don’t need to worry about extending Wong or Adams for a few years yet, by which time Holliday will be gone, or playing out his career on a much reduced contract.

I don’t know what they’re going to do, but neither do you.

Lanidrac
Guest
Lanidrac
1 year 6 months ago

Well, it’s pretty obvious. The plan before Taveras’s death was to hand over RF to a combination of him, Grichuk, and Piscotty. Trading for a guy just a year away from free agency only confirms the plan in regards to the latter two.

As you said, Bourjos doesn’t hit much, so he makes an even worse starter. He still makes an excellent late-inning defensive replacement and pinch-runner, though. Grichuk/Piscotty can handle the main pinch-hitting duties.

Yeah, those possible extensions are a while away, which is kind of the point. Even without Holliday’s contract where do they get the money to keep the young core together if they’re already paying Heyward 30M a year or so in addition to Wainwright’s and Molina’s contracts?

Gamethread
Guest
Gamethread
1 year 1 month ago

I think that there is value in his increased effectiveness with the curve. The real story of Shelby’s season lies in the arsenal change to incorporate the sinker. Post-sinker, he was the pitcher everyone thought he could be. The stats play that out when put in the context of the storyline. He gets a sinker which;
A) Is a “get ahead in the count” pitch that generates more weak contact meaning more efficiency, fewer HRs/LDs.
B) Allows him to change speeds later in at bats both down, AND up, leading to a better swing and miss rate on his 4 seamer (a big reason for his early success.
C) Gives him the ability to throw the High 4 seam more often/more effectively with a change in both movement and velo.
D) Pairing his high FB tendencies with his curve, means a more deceptive curve as initial trajectories are similar, and a higher percentage of curves finding the strike zone meaning both higher swing and miss rates, as well as strikes looking as curves are the pitch with the lowest swing rates in the majors (look to Zito for this principle applied to a T.)
E) throw in his cutter and he has the ability to nibble on both sides of the plate with to either handed batters when paired with the 2-seam.

It seems strange that everyone here seems to be ignoring the Masterson storyline. Miller was a different pitcher during his run of great starts. Not just in results, but in arsenal and approach. That’s the pitcher that the Braves are banking on getting. Time will tell if he can carry that forward.

Matthew Cornwell
Guest
Matthew Cornwell
1 year 6 months ago

Geichuk’s OPS was under .800 in AA and AAA. And he was abysmal in his short time in the bigs. He cannot hit RHs at all.
Piscotty’s OPS is under .800 in the minors and is not a great fielder.

I don’t think anyone outside of Matheny ( who has a massive man-crush on Grich) thinks either will be a good MLB starter.

Mike
Guest
Mike
1 year 6 months ago

As a die hard Braves fan, news of this trade effectively torpedoed my entire week. I know it is the business of the game and you really shouldn’t get attached to your favorite players without a long term contract any more than your favorite character in a George R.R. Martin novel (spoiler they always die) But this one just really gut punches me. I’ve been in the obsessive Heyward fan club since his 2009 season in the minors. I remember going insane when his first major league at bat sent a Zambrano fastball into the Atlanta Bullpen. I could go on, but in short, I made the mistake a lot of fans make and started caring too much about the guy in the laundry. Sorry If I come off as sounding bitter. Congrats to the Cards, you guys got a great player.

Robb Stark
Guest
Robb Stark
1 year 6 months ago

What’s this about favorite charact–

sd
Guest
sd
1 year 6 months ago

9 years 200 million for Jason Heyward? Good luck with that.

Eno's Fro Keeps Getting Owned
Guest
Eno's Fro Keeps Getting Owned
1 year 6 months ago

Yet he keeps coming back for more. ROFL.

reverendright
Member
reverendright
1 year 6 months ago

Funny how there is no mention in the post of the Cobb County move, the Freeman extension, the ATL Hawks memo, and how racism played a role in this trade. Fangraphs is great at analyzing the game on the field, but ignores the social and financial context in which this trade was made..

One of the best players in the game was traded for a bag of balls, and the explanation is “4 years of team control” and “Miller *could* be an average starter. Look deeper.

DL80
Guest
DL80
1 year 6 months ago

Wait, is that why they have a Cuban manager and a bunch of Hispanic players, plus two black players?? I knew it! Racism!

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
1 year 6 months ago

While I understand part of this, and I don’t have an opinion on any race elements, I just want to point out it is perfectly possible to be racist against, say, black people and not racist against hispanic people.

Steven
Guest
Steven
1 year 6 months ago

For the people questioning Heyward’s offense, I wonder how the weight of OBP versus SLUG plays into it? For example, every 1 point of OBP difference in OPS is worth about 1.8 points of SLUG difference. If Heyward hit .271/.321/.438 with 20ish homeruns, I’m guessing more traditional-inclined people would value his offense more.

DavidV
Guest
DavidV
1 year 6 months ago

If the Braves were to keep one of their corner outfielders, why would they choose Juston Upton over Heyward? Is recent power more important than elite defense and worth the difference in salary? I was surprised to see Heyward go, but as soon as it happened, The Good Upton’s days were numbered. It’s just a question of when.

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