Could Jason Heyward and/or Justin Upton be traded?


Many have called for sweeping changes to the Atlanta Braves roster, and that is a natural reaction given the woeful offensive performance of the team during the 2014 season. Still, this “core” of talent is just one season away from a 96-win campaign, and that has spurred some (including myself) to resist wholesale change for the sake of wholesale change. Regardless, there are a few pieces on the roster that could easily be dealt for a large return, and Buster Olney of ESPN ($) has included both Jason Heyward and Justin Upton as players who could be “dangled” for the right price during the off-season.

It should be no surprise that both Heyward and Upton land on this type of list, and the reason is simple. Both players will reach free agency following the 2015 season, and with the current financial state of the Atlanta Braves organization (including long-term deals already handed out to Freddie Freeman and others), it seems unlikely that both will be retained past the ’15 campaign.

Jason Heyward is a homegrown asset for the organization who happens to double as the best defensive right fielder in baseball. That seems like a pretty strong combination, but seemingly no matter what he does, Heyward will be chased by the substantial hype that accompanied him throughout the minor leagues. Skeptics of Heyward’s game will point to a slash line of .271/.351/.384 on the season with only 11 home runs, but in the same breath, he adds incredible value with the glove, in addition to being one of the best overall base-runners in the National League.

In the case of Upton, a deal arguably makes even less sense. The 27-year-old possesses the best right-handed bat in the organization on the heels of a 29-home run season, and with the club in turmoil offensively, it would seem slightly on the side of crazy to jettison Justin Upton without a substantial return.

Do I believe that one of these players will not return past the 2015 season? Yes, I do. At the same time, however, it is difficult to envision a scenario in which either is simply traded for a prospect haul given the current direction of the organization, and it would be a mild surprise to me to see either player dealt in the next couple of months.

What do you think of the possibility that Jason Heyward or Justin Upton could be traded this off-season? Tell us in the comments!