St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak addressed the trade that sent Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden to the St. Louis Cardinals from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.
Some of Mozeliak’s comments:
“It’s an exciting day for us. For the last several years we’ve always talked about development, we’ve talked about controlling our own players, and having that cost certainty moving forward. But we did feel like after the events of this offseason we had to do something different; we had to look at a way to add an impact player to our club. We certainly understand that it could potentially be for one year. Hopefully it’s not.
“We really felt that this might be the best way to improve our team. Really make a change about how you think about the St. Louis Cardinals for 2015. The acquisition of Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden really answers two things that we needed. One is an impact everyday player and the other one is a reliever who can pitch late in the game so we felt like we accomplished both. Giving up players like Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins is not something that we’ve come accustomed to in that it’s not something we always like to do.
We do feel we have depth in our rotation with Marco Gonzales and Carlos Martinez, and we certainly felt like this was a place we were dealing from depth, and it gave us a chance to make this deal happen.
“This deal is definitely focused on the short term in terms of 2015 but I do think as we go forward, we’ll find a way to make Heyward’s experience in St. Louis something that he wants to be a part of for a long period of time. That’s something that we’ll have to take day-to-day and see what happens once he gets here.
To me, he’s a very steady player. He’s an impact player. Those weren’t my expectations but someone else’s.
Clearly, when you look at the athleticism and the kind of player he is, I do think in the environment that he came up in, people had extremely high hopes. I do think he’s an extremely talented player. He’s young. I think in this environment, he has a chance to be a great player.
It changed it drastically. I think we were all in agreement we were going to give Oscar a lot of opportunity in right field next year. Unfortunately, as we all know, that wasn’t going to happen.
As we were thinking about this club–it’s never easy to think about change when it’s that traumatic but we felt like we needed to do something and momentum just happened to carry this deal quickly. It would have surprised me if we went into the winter meetings before we addressed it. I do feel like this happened quick.
I don’t want to forget about Oscar. I don’t want this to be something where we lose sight of what could have been. But the reality is we have to move on. We’re going to play next year. The game of baseball is always moving. It doesn’t stop for anyone. That’s how we have to approach it. Sometimes you feel like it’s a little cold or a little harsh, but in the end, we have to do what’s best for the organization.
“Heyward is potential MVP-type player,” MLB Network analyst Mark DeRosa said on MLB Now. “Your WAR numbers say he’s way better than I think his peers think he is. His .271 batting average and 11 home runs last year suggests that he’s not one of the better players in the game, but if you put it all together, you really like the player.”