Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden: Worth The Gamble


The realization that you could get Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins seemed pretty unbelievable until a few weeks ago.

A Gold Glove right fielder wasn’t even something the Cardinals were considering until the tragic death of Oscar Taveras, who we all expected would be a Gold Glove, MVP-caliber athlete for years to come. A fast throwing reliever, with a hop is definitely something the Cardinals were looking for, but were uncertain of the cost.

To use a gambling phrase, the chips fell just right for John Mozeliak and the St. Louis Cardinals.

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And, for the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves are getting two pitchers that were prized by the Cardinals for years. Both have seen their struggles but have shown signs of improving. While it is sad to see them go, a change of scenery may do them some good. Shelby Miller will have a new place to hone that new pitch and use his fast ball effectively. Tyrell Jenkins, who had an amazing performance in the Arizona Fall League, will have the time and attention from a new club to continue improving from his series of injuries.

As mentioned here, Jordan Walden has a hell of a lot of potential and could use some Cardinal jersey magic. He’s been an All-Star but struggled some, but absolutely shows signs of improvement. And I for one am really excited to see him hop into the eighth inning role. Excited to have a consistently effective reliever in the eighth. With a hop!

What? I like quirks. Some quirks anyway!

As for Jason Heyward. Wow.

A Gold Glove winning, All-Star rightfielder with a WAR last season of 6.3.

His offensive numbers have dropped from their once awesome point. But, his numbers last season were nothing to give shade.

So, 20 stolen bases, 26 doubles, 67 walks and 58 RBI? When he gets on base, he is quite effective. Remember some of those moments last season when the Cardinals couldn’t get anything going. Well. We may have us a guy that can get things going. Finally.

What about the long term? Heyward is owed $7.8 million in this his final season of a two-year deal. Mo said this deal was meant to alleviate a short term need. The Cardinals do still have Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. As well as Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos. Mo added that they would do their best to entice Heyward into staying longer if that is something he would like, as well. And from what we hear, St. Louis is a place players really enjoy.

It would be amazing if the Cardinals could sign Heyward long term. Holliday has a few more years on his contract. Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos are in their arbitration years. Grichuk and Piscotty are under team control for a while.

If Heyward finds his power swing and keeps up his pace around the base paths, he could fill a needed role for the Cardinals for many years to come.

He has pop, speed and defense. All. Things. The. Cards. Need!

Holliday, Heyward, Matt Adams, Jhonny Peralta, Yadier Molina, Kolten Wong, Matt Carpenter and the others?! For the next few years?

I like the sound of that, indeed!