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The Braves are thinking about trading Jason Heyward? Have they lost their damn minds?

Sep 30, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

heyward getty wide Getty Images

I was too busy recovering from shock to have seen this Buster Olney item from yesterday, but I’m sane today and … it’s probably going to send me back into insanity if there are any legs to it:

The Braves need power production out of right field. Now there is some sentiment within the organization that Atlanta might be better off dealing Heyward and taking advantage of his value or, at the very least, considering alternatives as they wait for him to develop.

Whoever in the organization is harboring such sentiment should have their head examined.  Heyward is 22. He had a bad-for-him year, but was still the Braves’ best outfielder. Faint praise, but it’s true.

More to the point, he’s 22-years-old and has excelled at every level of baseball going back to little league. He had some health problems and some adjustment issues in 2011. Classic recipe for a sophomore slump.  But that doesn’t change the fact that he is a fantastic ballplayer with outstanding promise.  And it’s not like the Braves have a ton of those whose primary job is to hit the ball a long way.

I’m going to choose to believe that someone with the Braves is simply messing with Olney.  If there is any more to this, however, the Braves and I are going to have a long conversation about the state of our relationship.

  1. danandcasey - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Sorry. I am to blame for this. I was chatting with the peanut vendor in Section 211 at the Ted on Wednesday. He is the person “within the organization” that thinks the Braves should trade Heyward.

  2. bravesman1983 - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Until I hear it from someone a little more reputable than Buster, I’m going to file this one away in the “No F–king Way” folder. Mr. Olney seems to be of the opinion that viable sports reporting is comprised of repeating any rumor he hears, no matter how out there it may be, and hoping maybe one in 20 has a little traction.

  3. Tyree Studio - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    The Royals have a pretty good RF (.285 av 20hr 85rbi 22sb) they might trade for Heyward…
    ;)

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    Now that their season is over, I am going to offer a double-or-nothing wager to my good pal El Bravo about Heyward…over/under March 10th on the first Heyward injury story of Spring Training 2012. I am also guessing either a Hammy or Wrist problem.

  5. Lukehart80 - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    As Penny Lane said to William Miller, “come to Cleveland.”

  6. Bill - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    This is a sick joke.

  7. kylepinion - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    The Braves have gotta do something to get this outfield going offensively. I’m not advocating a trade of Heyward, but more along the lines of scuttling Prado outta there. They need to stop platooning Heyward and FULLY invest in him again, and instead use whatever McClouth/Kawakami money they can to get an offensive spark plug in LF, if any can be had. There’s also the question of SS, Pastornicky probably isn’t ready yet, so Gonzalez or some equivalent would need a 1 year deal. My thinking is, if you can’t sign anybody for LF, trade Prado and Mike Minor (or Delgado) for a long term outfield solution (the one area the Braves are weakest at in the farm system, and frankly the Braves only have so many rotation spots to fill, so Minor or one of the youngins will be the odd man out) and then start grooming Matt Lipka or Joseph Terdoslavic to take over 3B for Chipper, I’m sure Lipka is early enough in his career that he can effectively make the switch.

    An outfield of Bourn for a full year, a recovered Heyward, and ANYBODY with better pop than Prado in Left will be a HUGE upgrade for this team.

    • amhendrick - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:59 AM

      The lack of Braves offense isn’t for lack of trying by the front office. Uggla’s OPS+ last year was 131, this year 109. Prado: 119/89; Heyward 131/95; Bourn: 113/87 (pre/post trade). The Braves somehow manage to kill offense for every player not named Jones or McCann.

    • Jonny 5 - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      Get rid of Prado? Who normally hits .300 for a BA?

      • kylepinion - Sep 30, 2011 at 3:08 PM

        Two seasons of .300 doesn’t mean that it’ll continue, plus, little to no power…I’d be perfectly fine with him at say 3B, but in LF, he’s blocking up a spot that could be taken up by somebody that would work better in the line-up, for example, an actual clean-up hitter.

    • Jonny 5 - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      (Phillies fan) Oh, yeah, get rid of Prado right away.. He needs to go….

      Seriously though, the dude covers some ground out there too, I’d keep him.

  8. alfreddigs - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Choo for Heyward!!!!!!! Please???

  9. Francisco (FC) - Sep 30, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    the Braves and I are going to have a long conversation about the state of our relationship.

    … in the Lair naturally, puffing bubbles at Frank Wren and jabbing his finger at him while making his points.

  10. thefrenchyconnection - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    I am going to pretend I didn’t see that.

    Why is it that every time I fully invest into one of our RFs they play with my emotions?

    • mikedi33 - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:07 AM

      Heyward For Dom Brown, a change of scenery would help both of them.

      • thefrenchyconnection - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:10 AM

        No. Full commitment from their respective managers and FOs through their ups and downs would do wonders for them.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:11 AM

        As a Phillies fan, I would take that deal in a heartbeat. Least Cerrano has shown he can do something in the Bigs. Seems like the Domo-nator shrivels under the big lights. and he is 2 years older than Pedro too.

      • Jonny 5 - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:42 AM

        Chris, where do you put him even if the trade is a good idea? I put JM Jr. in LF to start the 2012 season. And I like it that way.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        Yeah, I didn’t think that far ahead. But probably move him over to left field. Let him and JMJ compete in Spring training and may the best man win. If he doesn’t win, then he goes to the Iron Pigs for a year to get his head on straight. He is 2 years younger than Brown so there is no way I would pass on that trade…and I don’t think there is a way the Braves make it either so it’s all just for fun anyway.

      • Jonny 5 - Sep 30, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        Yeah, I guess Heyward is the better prospect when it’s said and done so it would be a no brainer even if he must play AAA ball until he’s bundled into a trade for more pitching talent. You know how Amaro rolls…. lol. Anyway Heyward isn’t going anywhere is the bet I’d take here.

  11. Nick C - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    Nice Hunt for Red October reference in the title. Love that movie. It was the only Clancy book movie that was any good.

  12. mox19380 - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    sounds t me like posturing.
    A) maybe some team will open up their roster and the Braves could get great haul of talent.
    B) Your team has just had an epic collapse, they have to show the players that their positions on this squad are not guaranteed, especially after the bad year Heyward’s had
    C) It is a PR move … to give fans the impression that the front office isn’t satisfied with this year and since you can’t threaten to get rid of your 1st coach it seems like the next best option is a young “stud” who struggled terribly all year

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      You forgot D…firing the manager. Who just so happens to be the luckiest man around right now. If the Red Sox had not choked, he would be getting 100% of the “Choke” press. Instead, Tito is getting 100% of it and Fredi is pretty much invisible.

  13. ogre2010 - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    I don’t see this happening with Hank Aaron still around.

  14. hermitfool - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    It’s hard to have confidence in how Heywood has been managed/coached this year with Fat Fredi at the helm. But let’s assume, without a shred of proof, the Braves upper management, the same folks who thought Derek Lowe was a really good pitcher, is capable of evaluating ball players. Let’s assume they noticed what the scouts of other teams have noticed, that Heywood can’t hit the cheese. Let’s assume it might have taken the rest of the league a while to identify his weaknesses and pitch him accordingly. Let’s assume the instructional staff offered suggestions and Heywood has been unable or unwilling to adapt. He wouldn’t be the first 22-year-old phenom to flame out.

    If you’re running the Atlanta Braves you could send him down to the minors(not the three day Frenchy-style trip to the minors, but the real deal) and give him the time to alter his lame stance and hope his athleticism reemerges.

    Or

    You trade him to someone with lower team expectations, who might think they have the answers and the time to allow him to develop.

    Floating the trade idea could bring some interesting offers. It could also send a message to Heywood that the organization is losing patience with his hard-head.

    • Alex K - Sep 30, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      He couldn’t hit the fastball because his swing was all messed up from a shoulder injury this year.

  15. trevorb06 - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Even ‘El Bravo’ dropped Heyward. It’s time to let go, Craig.

    What’s that? Dayton Moore calling the Braves?

  16. therealdancastro - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    I still think the Braves and their saber-oriented fans are overvaluing a player who has not stayed healthy for one season at a very young age. Yes, you hope that heyward turns into kemp, but sometimes it takes years, ala alex gordon. Heyward is not a sure thing. I also believe the philly flipside of this is Dominic Brown, who has shown less than heyward (much less) and is older. I think the braves have a oyung enough foundation to withstand the hypothetical loss of heyward, if it gets them a “kemp” type talent or an impressive haul of talent.

  17. paperlions - Sep 30, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    He must have asked for advice from his dad.

  18. cintiphil - Sep 30, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    This could be the best thing for him. I think the Braves are thinking that he never will get it straight in Atlanta. He is either using injuries as an excuse not to excel, or is actually injury prone and not able to play up to expectations. So, for the Braves, it makes sense to cut him loose. And, by getting traded, it may shake him up enough to get it right, and start to perform. It could be a win for him and the Braves. Depends on who they can get for him. If I were the GM, I would seriously think about it.

  19. Alex K - Sep 30, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    The only reason to trade him is if you fear that he can’t stay healthy.

    If it was my team I would rather they hold on to him. The possible upside is too high to move him.

  20. honkerdawg - Sep 30, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Msg to the Braves “DON’T BE STUPID, and I’m not even a Braves fan

  21. scatterbrian - Sep 30, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Dear Braves,

    Who do you want?

    Regards,

    A’s fans

  22. georgiamomto2 - Sep 30, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    Good – let Heyward go! He only gives 100% effort when he is 100% healthy, and I don’t think he was 100% healthy at any time this season. In the past few weeks, there have been times when he clearly was not hustling to get to a ball. Also, the fact that he has had so many injuries at a young age does not bode well for the future. There were many games when he looked like a sourpus who didn’t even want to be on the field. Who needs that? He is a polite man who speaks like he actually did learn something in school, but his attitude toward playing leaves a lot to be desired.

    He reminds me of Franceour – someone who always got what he wanted growing up because he was a good ballplayer so developed an “I’m awesome” attitude but now that he is with others who are better, he isn’t pampered like he’s used to and his skills and attitude deteriorate rapidly.

  23. foreverchipper10 - Sep 30, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    I am just going to pretend this is a false report. If anyone in the Braves office wants to give up on this guy he should be fired. Most of what I feel has already been conveyed in the comments above but the notion that the Braves would consider trading him is garbage. If htat were the case they would have offered him to Houston to nab Pence.

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