Yesterday, the Braves made a blockbuster deal, trading young outfielder Jason Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden to the pitching-rich Cardinals for young starter Shelby Miller and pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins. The Braves had attempted to sign Heyward to a long term deal but found that his price was out of the range they were willing to pay him. The Cardinals will now have him for one season, and have first dibs on signing him to a long-term deal, but if they didn't pay Albert Pujols after what he did for them, I don't see them signing Heyward to a long term deal, especially if he wants a contract in the $150-180 million range.
Today, I am going to offer my thoughts on two other trades the Braves should make. After trading Heyward, they really have three players who offer value to prospective trade partners: outfielder Justin Upton, catcher/DH Evan Gattis and closer Craig Kimbrel. The market for Gattis is tough to guage as he will probably be dealt to an American League team to become a full-time DH, and attempting to determine the price for a young DH is not easy. How much would a team give up for Chris Carter right now? Yeah, probably not much.
Justin Upton to the Giants for Kyle Crick
The Giants ran out an outfield of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco and Juan Perez in game seven of the World Series and may lose Pablo Sandoval to free agency, so adding a bat like Upton could address two of their needs, an outfielder and a middle of the order hitter to replace Sandoval. Upton is in his walk year, and was one of 11 hitters to hit 25 or more home runs and drive in 100 or more runs in 2014.
Braves new GM John Hart is looking for arms in his deals thus far, and this one is no different. Crick adds another young arm to the Braves system who could step into a more prominent rotation role by 2016-2017, but he will have to work on his control, as he is walking way too many batters at this point in his minor league career.
Craig Kimbrel to the Mets for Steven Matz
The Mets appear to be ready to make a run for the wild card in 2015, and have already addressed their need for a power hitting outfielder by signing Michael Cuddyer to a two year deal. Now they can address their need for an established closer, and why not deal for the best in the game. The trade would move 2014 closer Jenrry Mejia to the set up role, but with the Royals showing you can get to the World Series with a strong, deep bullpen, dealing for the best closer in the game makes sense for a Mets team looking to make the playoffs in 2015.
Dealing pitching prospect Steven Matz won't be easy, but the Braves are looking for pitching, pitching and more pitching, but to get the best closer in the game will cost you. The Mets would be dealing from their pitching strength to build their bullpen for a playoff run for not just 2015, but a multi-year run.
Matz would offer the Braves another young, controllable starter who could sit near the top of their rotation when they are ready for their next playoff run.