The Atlanta Braves suffered an epic collapse down the stretch last season and missed the playoffs by one game, but they haven't made any significant moves in the offseason to upgrade the team. That may be why the latest rumor making the rounds is such an explosive one. Bleacher Report is suggesting the Braves may trade promising young right-fielder Jason Heyward to the NY Yankees for a group of impact players.
This isn't a trade likely to happen, but there are several reasons the rumor is gaining traction. One is the Braves complete collapse in September, exposing them as a team that has solid starting pitching and possibly the major leagues' best shut down bullpen with middle relievers Eric O'Flaherty and Johnny Venters setting the table for closer Craig Kimbrel. The idea that the Braves would want to pick up a couple of reliable bats isn't so crazy.
Then there are Heyward's injuries to consider. Most years he has played ball Heyward has missed time due to injury, and he had a lengthy stay last year on the disabled list. The Braves had a lot of key players injured and with Heyward beginning to be tagged as injury prone it seems conceivable that the team might be willing to move him for the right price.
Another reason the trade sounds plausible is the fact that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez sat Heyward down toward the end of the year even when he was healthy in favor of starting journeyman George Costanza, a scrappy speedster who did have a good run at the plate but is nowhere near Heyward in terms of potential and talent. The sight of Heyward, considered a key to the Braves future, sitting while Costanza played in vital games down the stretch was an unexpected one that raised eyebrows among fans.
Despite all this, and Heyward's terrible sophomore slump at the plate, the Braves are not likely to actually consider this deal. They reportedly would want Eduardo Nunez, Phil Hughes, Nick Swisher and maybe some young arms. It just doesn't seem probable. The Yankees might pull the trigger on such a move, but the Braves have been burned by giving away some hot young prospects that panned out for other teams in the past.
It's much more likely that the Braves will count on a rebound from their promising outfielder. Despite the rumors and Atlanta's needs I don't think a Jason Heyward to the NY Yankees trade has any chance of happening.
Jeffrey Weeks is an award-winning writer who was born in Athens, GA and is a lifelong Braves fan.
- Sports & Recreation/Baseball
- Sports & Recreation
- Jason Heyward