This morning the Cardinals agreed on a four player trade that will send starting pitchers Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for right fielder Jason Heyward and relief pitcher Jordan Walden. Heyward is a fantastic defensive outfielder and won a gold glove this past season while saving an astounding 32 runs. He is also a proven hitter with a respectable career slash line of .262/.352/.429. Not only will he fill the right field void for the Cardinals, but will take on the role of leadoff hitter as well due to his speed (twenty bags swiped last season) and his knack for getting on base. At the young age of 25, Heyward should be a staple of the Cardinals outfield for years to come.
Walden is a hard-throwing 27 year-old right hander and has proven to be an effective set up man and closer throughout his career. He led the Braves with 20 holds last season while posting a solid 2.88 era and he will be a huge addition to a bullpen that struggled at times last season. Walden has also proven durable, appearing in 50 or more games in three of the past four seasons. An end of game bullpen combo of Walden and Card’s closer Trevor Rosenthal will leave hitters quivering at the plate.
All in all, this was a great trade for the Cardinals. Yes, they gave up young pitching which is usually a big no-no, but they filled two immediate needs in return. For a team whose goal is to win the World Series in 2015, this trade was necessary and will prove worthwhile in the long run.