The Braves named John Hart as their new GM this offseason, and it appears he has started his rebuild of the Braves for the opening of their new ballpark in 2017.
On Sunday, it was reported that the Braves made a small trade dealing second baseman Tommy La Stella to the Cubs for releiver Arodys Vizcaino. With La Stella gone, the Braves will look for a second baseman to keep the position warm for top prospect Jose Peraza.
Today, Hart completed a blockbuster trade dealing outfielder Jason Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden to the Cardinals for starting pitcher Shelby Miller and pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins. Heyward had a disappointing season at the plate in 2014, but he made up for it with his baserunning and defense in right field. He will become a free agent at the end of the 2015 season.
The Cardinals get Heyward in his walk year, and he fills the hole in right field after the tragic death of outfield prospect Oscar Taveras. The Cardinals dealt from their strength, starting pitching, to fill the hole in right field and in an effort to help their lineup which struggled to score runs in the second half. In addition, they get Walden to fill a need in their bullpen should they decide to allow Carlos Martinez to fill the open rotation spot left with Miller now traded.
The Braves get a young starter in Miller, who is four years from free agency, so in return for one year of Heyward and a reliever, the Braves get four years of Miller and presumably six years of Jenkins. With that said, Miller did struggle to throw strikes in 2014, but seemed to have made progress in the second half.
The question I have is how far is this rebuild going to go? Is this a full rebuild? From what I have read on Twitter today, it appears the Braves are not finished yet, so we could see Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, and others traded in the next month or so.
If this is a full rebuild, wouldn't the Braves be wise in seeing what they could get for the best closer in the game, Craig Kimbrel? I think they should. Maybe not now, but by July 31st they should.