Jason Heyward (22) is one of baseball's most exciting players. He becomes a free agent in two years and likely beyond the reach of the Braves payroll. Should they trade him now or keep him and be happy with a draft pick? Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Should The Braves Trade Jason Heyward


(Updated to correct my sourced information on trade talks)

With two years until Jason Heyward reaches free agency; to trade or not to trade – is that the question?

Buster Olney recently wrote that the Braves should trade Craig Kimbrel –who is three years from free agency – now because he would soon be too expensive for the Braves and few other teams could afford him next year.  As valuable as Kimbrel is to the Braves, the return for him as a trade chip is not that of a starter or an everyday player. Jason Heyward on the other hand, is a very different story.

Why Trade Now?

Unlike Kimbrel, Heyward is an everyday player and a five tool everyday player at that. In his freshman year of 2010 he put up a slash of  .277/.393/.456/.849 and a 6.4 rWAR for the season. His sophomore season was riddled with injury but he was healthy again in 2012 and once again his slash – .269/.335/.479/.814 – and 5.8 rWAR put him amongst the league leaders. Going into 2013 Keith Law called him one of the five best players under 25 and there was much written about extending him. yet the Braves didn’t couldn’t extend him and contrary to rumors I can’t find any evidence they tried. according to Mark Bowman they “(the Braves) showed some interest in discussing this possibility, the talks seemed to die quickly. . . Heyward and Freeman were not willing to partake in at this time.” That was a huge mistake. In April MLBTR estimated his extension to be worth six years at $75m; he’s much more expensive than that now. A look outfielders who recently received extensions or were free agent signings shows why.

This list makes it clear that a 24 year old Jason Heyward extension would cost at least five years at $100M; anything short of $90M would be seen as an insult.  Hands up all who see a $100M extension for Heyward this off season. If they aren’t going to extend him what are they going to do?

Other Options

One option we can take off the table is the Teixeira option. In 2008 new GM Frank Wren traded Mark Teixeira mid year of his final contract year thereby forfeiting a compensation draft pick for for Casey Kotchman. With all due respect to Kotchman, that was an awful decision. The Angels drafted 19th and 20th using the compensation pick to draft an outfielder out of Millville Senior High School; Mike Trout. The Braves picked seventh and chose Mike Minor that year. They would have then been able to use the compensation pick immediately to choose from Trout, Mike Leake, Shelby Miller, Jacob Turner, Drew Storen, Tyler Skaggs and Aaron Crow. Thankfully the new CBA ended draft pick compensation for mid-year pickups so that kind of thing won’t happen.

A second option is to wait and trade him next off season. The return for Heyward with one year of control as opposed to two would be significantly lower. The free agent outfielder list for 2015 is pretty thin so Braves might get a top prospect and perhaps one other lower level prospect along with a couple of PTBNL if a team really wanted him.

The last option available is the one the Braves appear to be choosing; do nothing. It’s a tried and true way of watching your player head for the greener pastures of free agency and consoling yourself with a draft pick in 2016. That isn’t always a bad thing and is the right answer if the offer isn’t good enough. Who thinks teams wouldn’t like to have Jason at $5M this year and maybe $10M next? The offers would be good; very good. The Braves could ask for and likely receive a huge package in return something akin to that the Rays were originally asking for David Price is not out of the question. So, what would it take?

The Price Is Not Right

First let me say unequivocally, David Price is not the answer in this trade. He has the same pay and retainability issues as Jason and the Rays are trying to duck that. Like Price however, Heyward would be expensive.  Until the Rangers signed Choo they were one of the teams with the depth to bid, the Red Sox have it as well as the Mariners and the White Sox could put together a suitable package. Other teams have the depth – like the Cardinals – but are unlikely to jump in because of 2016 free agency but who knows . I’ll just look at a couple of these with the caveat that I understand there are reasons why they might not make the trade

The Red Sox discussion would have to start with Allen Webster and Jackie Bradley and include someone like Trey Ball, Garin Cecchini or Mookie Betts. To justify such a haul they would likely want Aaron Northcraft or J.R. Graham and possibly Tyler Pastornicky in return and that’s not a problem for me.

Any deal with the White Sox starts with Chris Sale; that of course might also end it but lets assume it doesn’t. The Sox farm system is thin but they have money to pay Jason as Adam Dunn’s $15M comes off their payroll next year and they have some major league level players rumored ready to move who might fit.  So along with Sale names like Alejandro De Aza, Gordon Beckham could be added and something like Sale, De Aza, Beckham for Jason might work. Sale is the only long term loss to the White Sox in such a deal,  De Aza would be excess to their needs and they have Tim Anderson and Micah Johnson that could replace Beckham or Alexei Ramirez come to that. If they wanted more in return like a pitching prospect they would in turn have to slip more into the deal.

There are other possibilities but you get the idea, a Heyward trade is like signing three near the top draft picks potentially including an impact arm in the process.

That’s A Wrap

Failure to extend or trade Heyward should mean the Braves intend to go for it this year and next. While there is still time to do something, the something that we need is in short supply and expensive. It requires recognition that the window for success is closing and it’s a win now or wait another five, six or ten years. The GM says the team is as strong as last year – it’s not. While the Cardinals, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Nationals and every other team in the east actually got better, we signed Mat Gamel, Mark Hamilton and Gavin Floyd –who optimistically won’t be able to pitch until May–and traded for Ryan Doumit. Neither Gamel nor Hamilton is likely to have an impact, Doumit is a bench bat and emergency anything else. None of that indicates a bold move to win now.

The time remaining for our young roster to play together at their peak is coming to a close. Along with Heyward, Justin Upton (a lot of this is true for JUP as well but the return for him is likely less), Dan Uggla (don’t cheer too loudly you’ll wake the neighbors) and Kris Medlen are free agents in 2016 with Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson following them in 2017.  Our projected 2016 outfield is B.J., Jordan Schafer or Todd Cunningham and Joey Terdoslavich; how does that sound to you?  So the time to go for it is now and by go for it I mean David Price.

The Rays landing spots for Price are diminishing daily. The Rangers signing Choo took their pocket change, they wouldn’t trade him to the Yankees or Red Sox unless blown away. The Yankees have nothing to give them and the Red Sox are unlikely to give up enough to satisfy the Rays. The Mariners repeatedly say Taijuan Walker is out of the question and the Diamondbacks aren’t giving up Archie Bradley. The Dodgers might have enough to do it with Joc Pederson and Zach Lee and maybe they want insurance against losing Clayton Kershaw. While it wasn’t enough in the early days of the post season when everyone was still in on Price the Braves could likely do it now with Alex Wood. Christian Bethancourt and Tyler Pastornicky; as the number of buyers drops so does the price for Price.

I’ve heard all of the reasons not to before; we don’t want to give up our future for a short term rental; Bethancourt is the next Molina etc. But look, the future is the next two years with Jason, JUP, Freddie, CJ, Meds, and Kimbrel. We have nothing on the way that looks like can’t miss replacements for JUP and Jason or Freddie. So what future are we waiting for?

I’d go all out to extend Heyward now and 5 @ 20 isn’t an unreasonable offer for either side. He’ll be 29 and ready for an other huge payday at the end of that time and the Braves need to keep one of their most popular players. If he cannot be extended and management isn’t willing to go for it, trading him to restock and reload makes the most sense and getting the right pieces might give you a chance to win now as well.  Trading Jason wouldn’t be popular but getting a Chris Sale type arm back along with a couple of useful pieces eases that pain. It could even take us deeper into post season play and that would certainly make the fans forgive even if they can’t forget.

Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided Jason Heyward

  • cothjrr24

    Through arbitration, Heyward is set to make 4-5 million in ’14 and approx. 7 million in ’15. On the high end, that’s 12 million for his arb-years. So you’re suggesting that anything under 90 million would be a slap in the face? Do the math. That’s a 26 million AAV for 3 years. A 100 million dollar deal would make it almost 30 million a year the last 3 years. If you really think that’s insulting, we have a difference of opinion on extensions for young players in arbitration. The deal you’re discussing is a rip-off for the Braves and doesn’t happen with arb-eligible players…well, at least I don’t know of one.

    A 5 year/60 million dollar deal with player options (or, if the Braves could negotiate it, club options…the Rays model) is the fair deal as it provides Heyward with an AAV of 16 million for the 1st 3 years of his contract and keeps pace with his arb-years salary. Deals done during arbitration are generally team-friendly in the long run and gives the player peace of mind and guaranteed money up front. The 5/60m deal suggested above would probably have to come front-loaded with a signing bonus, maybe 3 million, which would provide Heyward with salaries of 7.5,7.5, 16, 16, 16 making the total deal 5/63 million.
    Again, look at the numbers and re-consider what you’re suggesting. Or better yet, find a deal where the arb-years were bought out AND were paid like the player was in free agency without a discount.
    Also, DOB has reported twice (once this year, once last) now that extensions for their “younger” players have been discussed but didn’t go far. As we all know, it’s not like the Braves to leak that info unless it was discussed. Since the Furcal situation a few year’s back where he agreed to a contract then backed out, the Braves have been the tightest-lipped organization in the game.
    2 more extensions that are fair for both sides:
    1. Freeman 5/55 million dollar deal with a 3 million dollar signing bonus and player/club options for 18 million.
    Breakdown- Freddie will probably make 5 million this year, making him a 5/7/10 million dollar guy through arbitration. Like Heyward’s model, the Braves need to factor in a signing bonus to offset the seemingly team-friendly 2 years of free agency, make it 3 million, making the total deal 5/58 million. The contract breaks down as 7.5/8/10.5/16/16 with player/club options at 18 million.
    2. Simmons- 7/65.5 million dollar deal with a 3 million dollar signing bonus and player/club options for 16 million.
    Breakdown- Simmons is an interesting case, as he could be arb-eligible as early as 2015 if he makes Super-Two status. While it doesn’t change his years of control, it most definitely changes the amount of money the Braves will have to pay. Like Kimbrel, Simmons’ arbitration numbers will seemingly break the system as there are no defensive equivalents to him. I’d be willing to bet that Simmons will make 3 million in 2015, making his next 3 years go something like 5/8/11. If that’s the case, the above deal would pay him handsomely pre-arb (with the factored-in signing bonus) and the years would break down like this: 3.5/4.5/5.5/8.5/11.5/16/16
    This deal pays Simmons handsomely pre-arb, and a little extra during arbitration, and gives a team-friendy 2 years after free agency.
    In response to even thinking of trading Heyward…heck to the no. The Braves have always been a team to trade from a position of strength. Trading Heyward when there’s no one else in the pipeline would be disastrous and cost much more to fill via free agency than what we’d have to pay Heyward. Trading Kimbrel is a smart path of thinking. Trading Heyward when his stock isn’t soaring is madness!

    • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

      My thinking on Heyward essentially agrees with you: 5/100 is actually pretty ridiculous _prior_ to free agency (sorry, Fred, but he’s right on the math).

      The MLBTR arb estimate for Jason is 4.5m for 2014. So I would entertain an offer of $5m/$10m/$14m/$16m/$18m => 5 years/$68m starting in 2014. That should be worth signing. He’s still just 24 years old, so at the end of that deal he can actually hit the market and still be just 29.

      • fireboss

        Uh, see above. MLBTR estimated last year 6@75, Talking Chop said 6@85 I believe. Why take less now? To extend him I believe you have to pay him what he’s worth. Otherwise why does he extend? He has to believe in his ability and that means i’ll take what they give me now because my payday is coming in 2016. Do you doubt he gets 7 years at 150 in 2016? Or even 6 @ 120? Both of those swallow your generous offer for the next two years in year one.

        • cothjrr24

          Other side…why would the Braves pay him that now if they can get him for a discount the next 2 years then, if they want to keep him, pay him 7/150 in ’16. The deal makes no sense from the Braves perspective and is a ridiculous overpay making Jason a 30 million dollar player for 2 years of free agency.

          • fireboss

            In no year of any contract I proposed does he make $30M. They would do it because they want him to stay a Brave until he’s 30, in a bidding war the Braves lose to teams with deeper pockets. Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Dodgers, etc. . .

          • cothjrr24

            ’14- Projected arb-salary- 4.5 million
            ’15- Projected arb-salary- 7 million
            That means your proposed deal would cost the Braves 88.5 million dollars to buy Heyward’s first 3 years of free agency, which is 29.5 million a year. No team has ever done such a ridiculous deal and the Braves won’t be the first. What you’re suggesting is a ludicrous use of money.
            Not even the Yankees are that dumb.

        • cothjrr24

          And TC’s was for 6/75-80 million and would have bought out this past year and paid him a 15-16 million over the course of the first 3 years of free agency, almost identical to the above. Once again, your numbers are brutally high.

          • fireboss

            Why would he sign for less? The money he makes in the next two years in proposal is rapidly replaced in his first FA year and more

          • cothjrr24

            Because we have been discussing a 5 year deal, not a 6. A 5-year deal would only be a 4.5-7.5 million dollar difference in the above scenario.

    • fireboss

      The point here is that if you want to keep Jason you have to pay Jason now. How you parse the money can be juggled but you are paying to keep a Tomahawk on Heyward’s chest at least through 2019. Jason looks to his left and sees BJ making 15, Justin making 14 this and 16 next and knows he’s worth more. When he looks at the free agent market he sees older players with less talent getting 15-18 million now and understands that in two years that’s 20-22M. Why would he sign for less than the pre 2013 season MLBTR projected value (6@75) now? Payroll certainty? Uh no.
      By taking your offer he makes an extra 3M this year, likely loses a million next then loses $4M a year for the next three. His agent will tell him that he’ll any money he doesn’t earn this year by turning down your offer is easily made up in the first year of his FA contract. Taking the deal you offer would be givingthe Braves a hometown discount. Jason hasn’t indicated he’s going to give the Braves any kind of break on his contract like Longoria did last year. Longoria has said he wanted to retire a Ray and was willing to take less to make that happen. Even if he offered a hometown discount he would want an AAV more than Longoria’s $14.6M. Jason is younger and a better all around player than Longoria; worth more simply because of the way he can change a game. He and his agent know it.
      Contracts that bought out arb at FA rates; well, lets see. . .
      Andre Ethier was signed in 2011 for 6 years $95M with two years of arb left, an AAV of 15.8M. The contract was back loaded (9.5M, 10.9M, 13.5M, 15M, 18M,18M, 17.5M + 17.5M option for year 6) Ethier had never been more than a 2.8 WAR player, roughly half of what we might expect from Jason and the contract. AAV was over market
      Joey Votto, three years of arb bought out for 13 years $263M (7.5, 9.4, 17, 12, 14, 20, 22, 25,25,25,25,25,25) AAV 20.5M Consistently a 6+ WAR Player Obviously over market
      Adam Jones extended in May of 2012 given a $2M signing bonus to bump his $6.15M to $8.15M then $8.5M, 13M, $13M, $16M, $16M, $17M. AAV 17M over market for players not named Josh Hamilton – Jones best WAR year 4.4
      These teams rightly or wrongly wanted to keep their marque players. All except Votto are not the player Heyward has shown he is.
      If when we give the him money is an issue lets backload the deal to make it better for you; say 6 years at 100 backloaded at 9,12, 16, 20, 22, 22 – AAV 16.7M with a $5M signing bonus. That give him $105M total and gets us an extra year.
      I wrote that I am NOT in favor of trading him. I am in favor of trying to win now. I don’t think this roster does that.

      • cothjrr24

        Not true about Ethier- Signed a 5/85 million dollar deal during the ’12 season, which was his final year of arbitration. No arb-years bought out in that contract.
        Not true about Votto- Votto signed a 3 year deal for 38 million that bought his arb-years out. Then a year later, on top of that, signed a 10-year deal for ’14 and beyond. Separate deals and the latter paid him like a free agent, which is ridiculously.
        Adam Jones deal is almost identical to the deal I proposed for Heyward, with the exception being Heyward’s buys 2 year of arbitration while AJ’s was only one, so thanks validating my point! It bought 2 years of free agency at a discounted price, then paid him like a free agent for the next 3. Very similar deals, with the exception that I gave Heyward more flexibility by offering player options (if that’s what it takes).

        • fireboss

          I missed a year of ethier’s arb my apoloigies.
          Okay so Votto’s 3 at 38 is was above market not many $12.5M AAV first basemen out there.
          The Adam Jones deal will be two years old and was for a player not in Heyward’s class. better players get more money.

          • cothjrr24

            He was coming off an MVP year. That’s a HUGE difference in arb-numbers.

  • cothjrr24

    And all of the guys you listed were free agents, not arb-eligibles with cost-controlled years. World of difference in terms of money.

    • fireboss

      Ethier was not a free agent, they bought out two years in that extension and as I said below, if you want your marquee player to stay you have to pay him to stay.

  • Sealift67

    A lot can happen in 2 to 3 years. ATL has a core of very good players that are maturing
    and finding their role eg Heyward as leadoff hitter works. If management gets nervous
    hands rather than balancing the present with the future eg by trading for prospects
    and lessor talents the team is in a perpetual rebuild. Liberty is growing, may buy
    Time Warner which would add accretive revenue. Also I have yet to see a board
    proposed ‘deal’ which may be fun in fantasy eventuate.

    • fireboss

      What future are we talking about? The Braves has little in the way of everyday players coming forward in th enext two years, certainly no one i Heyward’s class. We have some potentially good arms but none that projects to a top of the rotation arm. Maybe young Wrebn comes up the ranks quickly and becomes a star in CF but there’s nothing in the way of projectable power there now. Liberty’s guidelines for the Braves are that they live within their income and if a need arises to come explain it. I don’t see that changing even if they buy Time Warner. They are not allowed to fiddle with day-to-day baseball operations period. Some one said that they were goign to inject a bunch of money when they get ready to open the ballpark. If that’s the case they should be doing it now while the cost is chepaer than it will soon be. That starts with Jason, Meds, Minor and Freddie and I hope they do it soon, I just don;t think they will.

      • Sealift67

        LaStella, Peraza, Caratino, Joey T. have ML skills and attitude. Peraza
        eg might be tried in CF. As is typical the system is loaded with arms
        from Buchter to Graham, and some who get little ink like Harper. There
        is a culling process for the pitchers which is refreshing in contrast to a few
        decades ago before the Cox/JS era when there was perhaps one over-worked
        young arm eg a McMurtry. Perhaps I have misplaced optimism, yet I don’t
        see this team as far off at all, and a number of competitors have a much more
        shallow well to dip into in the face of injury. Liberty will either have to up the
        ante in the face of success, new stadium or sell the asset off to deeper pockets.

        • fireboss

          Joey T is a solid player but he’s not in Heyward or JUPs class as a hitter and may end up at first base if Freddie leaves. LaStella is a gap to gap line drive hitter and better than Uggla. Caratino is a catcher they hoped could play third but that hasn’t worked all that well. Another line drive gap to gap hitter he’ll likely be back behind the plate next year. You’re correct we have lots of pitchers in our prospect list but with two years to go big bats are missing. I want to be optimistic and upbeat and as I said if Liberty are going to reach into their pockets now is the time but I’m not holding my breath. They may be a little put off by the 75M they have committed to a 230 hitting CF

          • Sealift67

            I prefer contact gap hitters and see teams like the Cards
            doing pretty well with ABC ball, some base path speed and
            strong pitching. Dodgers made a living from that approach as well
            influencing BC immensely.Can we evaluate Caratino who was just
            drafted? Think of the ‘borderline’ prospects over the years like
            Javy and Prado who were drafted low and grew into solid players,
            and the converse of ‘toolsy’ guys who fell short. I like Heyward
            yet he will be replaceable if and when the time comes.

          • fireboss

            Neither Prado nor Javy Lopez was drafted or a fringe player. Prado was signed as an 18 year old international free agent in 2001 and he could always hit. Javy Lopez was also an international free agent signed when he was 17. He too could always hit. He was a Top 100 prospect from age 22 on. The number of fringe players that break through is relatively small these days. Kris Medlen fits the description he was drafted in the 10th round of the 200t6 draft the 310th overall pick. Mike Piazza fits too but those stories are rare.
            I like line drive hitters too but teams are a balance. When a team like the Cards last year wins it’s because they’ve over achieved in some area to make up for not quite being where they would like to be in another. In the case of the Cards they led the league in doubles with 322 but only had 125 homers and made up for the power difference by slashing 330/.402/.463 with RISP and striking out less times than anyone but the Giants.
            So a team of line drive gap to gap guys can be successful if they are disciplined and unselfish at the plate but it helps if they have 4 guys who can hit 20 + homers a year too. They also need pitching of course the Cubs were second in doubles and hit a lot more homers but they didn’t pitch well enough and their defense wasn’tt great; It’s a balance
            As you say Jason, Freddie et al can be replaced but it would be better not to have to do that for a while.

          • Sealift67

            Yes I was incorrect about the draft issue yet that was not my
            primary point. Javy(6 years in minors) was not a blue chip prospect. He was far
            behind the blue chip first round pick Tyler Houston. He and Prado
            worked their way up and garnered attention the old fashioned
            way. I did not say they were fringe players, simply rated as
            borderline until they proved themselves otherwise. Your argument
            is the ATL systems lacks quality position player projections and
            comparing Joey T who I believe will be a Tom Paciorek-type player
            for years to Heyward is well,a red herring. We agree a line up requires
            balance and currently there is a relative lack of contact hitting which
            I think will be addressed. Your ramble about the Cards seems
            to support the role of contact hitters who ‘over achieve’ by
            driving in runs re RISP.

          • fireboss

            The ramble about the Cards was simply to point out that if a lineup lack balance it needs to over achieve in its strength to win which I guess in retrospect is stating the obvious.
            I was serving overseas while Tom Paciorek played so I can’t say anything about him but a quick look at his stats shows numbers I and most could live with.

            Joey T is the closest we have right now to a major league ready outfielder who can provide some pop. I was merely plugging him into the hole in the lineup. I like Joey T and did not intend for it to sound that way.

  • Brandon_Woodworth

    In a word; no.

    • fireboss

      No what? Don;t extend him? Don’t try to win before these guys hit free agency? I said I didn’t want to trade him so no what?

      • Matthew Jones

        ‘No’ they didn’t read the article.

  • Benjamin Chase

    The trade proposals are odd to say the least to me. Likely Chicago would want back Heyward+ for Sale, not the other way around, and certainly putting in a solid starting outfielder and middle infielder would require a lot more than Heyward to bring that back. As far as the Red Sox are concerned, if they offered Webster, Bradley, and Betts (for instance, of the three you mentioned), I would hope Wren would simply laugh and hang up. Bradley has a ton of skills and could be a great player, but he hasn’t done it at the major league level quite yet, while Jason has. Webster is as likely to be an 8th inning guy as he is a useful starter, and none of those other prospects mentioned move the needle much (especially compared to other names one could choose from Boston) other than putting up nice stats in good places. You go into a deal with the Red Sox moving Jason insisting on Bogaerts in the deal or some of the prospects mentioned plus Peavy or Lackey. It just struck me as odd that the two trade proposals would both be off by quite a bit, and in opposite directions.

    • fireboss

      As I said I understand why teams wouldn’t make the trades but there are reasons they might. The idea was that we either need to win or use or assets to improve. But in the light of discussion I’ll explain why I took those names. We’re reading different evaluations then Boston isn’t a very good match for us they aren’t going to give up an arm I’d want though Workman work work – Peavy and Lackey are too expensive – Lackey’s cheap year does not move with him if he is traded per Cafrdo. They aren’t shifting Bogarts and might offer Middlebrooks but I’m more interested in
      Garin Cecchini is supposed to be a Boggs type hitter with a good glove who could be ready at third soon. Baseball America says Webster has top of the rotation stuff and BP says that “mid-90s sinking fastball, which gets both grounders and swings and misses” and he needs to better control it. No one mentioned bullpen. Bradley is a gold glove center fielder in the making who’ll hit 275-280 and steal a few bases. Not Michael Bourn in his prime but not awful. That allows BJ to move to left. Trey Ball is looks like he’ll be a well above average lefty bullpen arm and Betts has a chance to be a good second baseman, In the case of the R Sox it was grab a hand full of their best prospects.
      I dunno about the white sox, you could be right but Sale doesn’t help them win this year or next. Heyward doesn’t either but could help them win for 5 years after. They have no one like him in the system and can afford to offer him an extension he’d accept. They might well decide to wait two years and just buy him off the FA list but then they’re competign with Boston, New York and others. De Aza and Beckham are excess for them really as they “retool” but I wouldn’t mind sending a couple of others along.
      Like I said, I want to keep him, I’m just not sure the Braves think they can with what they are wiling to do

  • Lee Trocinski

    Choo just got $18.5M a year for his 30′s. Heyward will not accept a contract with his FA years under $20M, yet this is the best time to buy low on him. If he goes out and has a season like ’10 or ’12, he’s now talking $25M+ and way out of our price range. These are not easy decisions, and the player almost always has the leverage with the choice to just ride our arbitration and hit the market.

    • fireboss

      Be careful Lee, agreeing in any small way with me can ruin your reputation :) Merry Christmas

  • rick staley

    Fred: I agree with you that J-Hey will either get paid by the Braves at Yankee$ price$ now or never will the Braves have an opportunity to see his name appear on another Tomahawk contract. The Heyward family was started by 2(two) Dartmouth graduates, and that means “no” di$count$ to his current organization at anything under $cott Bora$ $tandard$ (ok…I’ll quit the childlike usage of dollar signs, but this particular subject is about the benjamins).

    Moreover, I love J-Hey! However, I do not believe the Liberty conglomerate will pay him anything close to what his market worth is by any and all standards…imho. Thus, I believe (as I’ve already stated & been hammered by having such an opinion) that it is time for this organization to make up for the Tex debacle by “Saleing now.” Heyward for Sale & De Aza would be fine with me or Sale & their LF (Cuban power bat), and a prospect since their LF’er is defensively below Jason’s standards.

    Furthermore, why has my favorite team not won a division series in sooo many years? Maybe because we put our best SP (who’s really a #2 or #3) against the other playoff contenders ACE? Seeing this matchup usually occurs at least twice in an extended series. Jason will only get about 4-5 opportunities a playoff game to make a huge impact, whereas an ACE will have an enormous amount of opportunities to limit the opposition. Great pitching 95% of the time trumps great hitting.

    In short, it’s simple in my eyes (I know most don’t agree) to hope Wren plays the trade card with his best chip (#22) for an ACE who will help us win now, next year, and for the next 5 yrs. Heyward has only 2 guaranteed years in Atlanta left. Sale would have at least 5, maybe 6 (please correct me because I’ m not sure whether he has 5 or 6 yrs. to go on his new team-friendly deal). Great article Fred, and Merry Christmas to all!

    • rick staley

      One more thing regarding extensions. Andrelton Simmons, Freddie Freeman, Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Craig Kimbrel (don’t take for granted having the end of the game covered folks, pay the young man now because he would give a team discount for security & remaining a Brave), & Julio Teheran are all better candidates on the possibility of signing one with the Bravos than Jason Heyward.

      • fireboss

        KImbrel is going to be really expensive and closers are notoriously short lived. Trading him this year isn’t something I’d do unless blown away and withe a marketplace full of closers that isn’t happening. Next year we’ll have (barring injury) at least two options close to ready to step in and another successful year will mean he’ll be making $12-15M. That’s too much for a Braves closer.

        Simmons will be a super two next off season and so start arb early but defense doesn’t pay as well as offense and unless his bat catches up with his glove he should remain affordable for a while. By all accounts Peraza is a super shortstop as well so I’d wait on extending Simba at least a year. but as my previous reply shows I generally agree that we need to break out the checkbook now. I’m afraid that Freddie is going to follow Jason into the sunset but that’s a whole other discussion

    • fireboss

      Sales is signed through 2017 – $3.5M, $6M, $9.1M, $12M – with options for 2018 ($12.5m) and 2019 ($13.5M) Because of that bargain basement contract getting him would take a package of players that included a good arm as well.. The hangover from the Teixeira trade – honestly I think there’s a picture of Tex in the GM’s office that says “Never Forget” under it – means that the Braves are now irrationally gun shy about trading good prospects. Getting an impact arm is only part of the work, they have to extend at least Freddie, Meds, Minor and if they can Justin to make sure they have a core talented enough to challenge once they get him. I like what I read about La Stella’s bat and he’ll solidify second and we could live with BJ in left and a player similar to De Aza or Jackie Bradley in center. It’s a process that requires a change of approach in drafting and managing talent. I’m not sure they’re willing to do that.

      • cothjrr24

        The Braves are not irrationally gun shy about trading prospects.
        ’13- Traded top 10 prospect for Ryan Doumit
        ’13 – Traded- 4-top 20 prospects (including a #2) for Justin Upton
        ’12- Traded top-20 prospect for Juan Francisco
        ’12- Traded top 20 prospect for Paul Janish
        ’11 mid-year- Traded top-5 prospect and top-25 prospect for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson
        ’11 mid-year- Traded top 10 prospect, 1 top 20 prospect, and 2 throw-ins for Michael Bourn

        The issue I’m having with this piece and your rebuttals are they’re un-researched with extreme prejudice inflicted upon the front office. All wrapped up in that is the notion that the Braves are a stupidly run franchise and everything the FO does is a back-handed slap to the devoted fans and players of the Atlanta Braves. In the last 3 years, the Braves have traded 10 top-20 prospects to fill needs, and you call that “irrationally gun shy”? C’mon, man. If you’re going to write for a Braves blog, at least take the time to research the topics you’re writing about.

        The Braves have had 21 winning seasons in the past 23 years and your writing would indicate that the Braves are equivalent to the Cubs. While we all would like to have more World Series titles during that time, there’s nothing to suggest that the Braves are as poorly run as what you’d have everyone on this blog believe.

        I think I’m done on this piece. Too much bile being spewed for the holiday season. Merry Christmas, Tomahawk Take.

        • fireboss

          It’s no secret I’m not a fan of the Wren era but that’s another discussion. I could go through the trades in detail but it wouldn’t be a productive exercise and it’s off topic. Arodys Vizcaino is on a rated prospect even though he hasn’t pitched in affiliated baseball since 2011. He was traded while on the DL and with a history of arm issues as long as his career to a team dumping salary. His prospect status was dubious to say the least.
          Jaye Chapman may have been the 25th prospect in the Braves system but that hardly makes him a top prospect. He’s still a Cub but was “granted free agency” after 2012 then signed again only to be granted free agency after 2103. That my friend in not a top prospect.
          The point of the post is that Jason Heyward is probably going to become a free agent after 2015 unless he’s offered a significant contract extension. You can argue about my numbers, his comparables and lack of precedent but there is absolutely no reason he should accept less than a precedent setting contract extension. He’s been called a generational player and whether you and I agree or not he’ll probably get paid that way by someone. That’s likely why he rebuffed the extension talks last off season.
          The team has the option of trying to extend him by making him such an offer, building around him to win in the next two years or hoping the status quo is good enough.

          • cothjrr24

            Your contradicting your original post of which you called the Braves irrationally shy about trading prospects. Pointing out 2 of the prospects, Vizcaino, of which hasn’t played pro-ball, is hindsight irrelevance, and doesn’t negate that he was in everyone’s top 5 for the Braves, and Jaye Chapman, who was barely a prospect, doesn’t address the other prospects: Randall Delgado, Zeke Spruill, JJ Hoover, Tim Collins, Sean Gilmartin, Brett Oberholtzer, Nick Ahmed, Brandon Drury, Paul Clemens, Todd Redmond, and Mike Dunn. How is that irrationally gun shy?
            You’re right, it’s likely that Heyward and the Braves will not work out an extension because, as it looks right now, Heyward at 26 on the FA market, could very well cost more than a remote island in Hawaii. That doesn’t mean that the Braves should go into unchartered territory and offer the contract you’re discussing, which even 90 million, would be a serious compliment to Heyward, and not near an insult. No one gets paid like that during their 2nd year of arbitration….ever, especially if they’re only projected to make 12 million the next 2 years. Someone might offer Heyward a 7/175 million dollar deal when he’s ready for free agency but no one would over him a contract that would pay him 20 million, on an average, right now.
            Not the Yankees.
            Not the Rangers.
            Not the Dodgers.
            And most definitely not the Braves…and thank God.

  • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

    I think some of these comments are exceedingly funny…. some of the implications that Fred didn’t do his research, etc. In the end, it’s a difference of opinion in what should be done with Heyward, and both sides have valid arguments. To suggest an opinion, as some have, that Fred is biased, prejudiced, or whatever, is itself biased and prejudiced. In other words, a difference of opinion. There are those who fall on the side that the Braves’ culture and philosophy is simply not adequate to win a world series, and there are those who think it’s just fine. To assume, when you critique those in favor of trading Heyward, that they are simply wrong and you are right, and that they can only be correct if they come around to your way of thinking is unfair.

    • cothjrr24

      Reply fail. Look above.

  • cothjrr24

    You can reply to me, Chris, as I am the only person discussing the above critique. I didn’t ask Fred to join my side of the argument but challenged him to do research before posting on a braves blog, especially if you guys want to keep followers. He didn’t do research on Heyward’s arb salaries factored into the 100 million dollar contract, or the comparable contracts that he mentioned, of which weren’t comparable, nor were the numbers right.

    He also didn’t do research when he called the braves FO irrationally stubborn about trading prospects.

    But if you like, I’ll just keep my opinion to myself, and visit here less frequently. This is not a threat but merely a sincere rebuttal. A blogging community is nothing unless someone has the guts to post his/her mind without being insulting. Don’t confuse challenging with insulting.

    • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

      No one is asking that you comment less, or visit less. In fact, I appreciate your comments immensely and often agree with you. I just feel that some of your comments were a touch unfair. Fred doesn’t need me to defend him, and I hate my comment came off that way. I just think we can challenge and disagree with a bit less of a ferocious tone, get our points across just as well, and leave it at that. I appreciate knowledgeable fans, and while we may disagree at times, the last thing I want is to have your comments be absent from our blog. I meant no offense, and didn’t intend to imply you were specifically “insulting” Fred. Don’t believe I said that bro. I think what I did was to get a little defensive about the treatment of a colleague. Oops :)

      • cothjrr24

        For sure. No worries.

  • rick staley

    Heyward, Hale, Varvaro, Hefflin, and Pastornicky for Sale, DeAza, Beckham, & #10-15 farmhand.