What does the Jason Heyward trade mean for the St. Louis Cardinals?


The St. Louis Cardinals acquired outfielder Jason Heyward and pitcher Jordan Walden today in a trade that sent pitchers Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.

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I’m hesitant to call this a blockbuster trade similar to the December 2003 trade that sent Adam Wainwright, Ray King, and Jason Marquis to the Cardinals in exchange for J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero. The reason why is that I don’t see Heyward being with the Cardinals for the long-term.

What I do think is that Heyward will be used as a stopgap for the organization. He’s entering the final year of a two-year $13.3 million deal. Is it possible that the Cardinals give Heyward a qualifying offer at the end of the season as they did in 2013 with Carlos Beltran? It’s possible. Will it happen? I don’t know.

I can venture to guess that Randal Grichuk will be a spot-starter at best for the Cardinals unless Stephen Piscotty makes his way to the team’s bench. With how much the Cardinals are paying Heyward, there is no way that the team will platoon the outfielder. The question on Heyward is whether or not he gets his power back? He can defend, don’t get me wrong, but will Heyward ever find his power again?

Heyward ultimately could be seen as a rental player since Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak was reluctant to block some of the organization’s promising outfield prospects.

With what Jordan Walden has shown, the Cardinals will be able to deal with losing Pat Neshek from the bullpen. There’s no doubt that Walden will become the new 8th inning guy.

The Cardinals have depth in their organization when it comes to pitching arms. They were able to part with both Miller and Jenkins because of this. They can plug the hole in the rotation with Marco Gonzales or Carlos Martinez. The smart money says Gonzales could get the job so that the Cardinals will have at least one left-handed pitcher in the rotation.

Martinez posted a 4-5 record with a 4.28 ERA in 78 appearances over the last two seasons. However, it’s the 2.61 ERA in 70 appearances (69 starts) in the minor leagues that make many wonder if fans have seen what Martinez can truly do with that right arm of us.