I’m probably gonna catch a lot of heat for this, but let me be clear: I think Jason Heyward is an excellent player. He’s gonna bat about .260 for you, throw out a lot of runners, hit 25 HRs and show off his athleticism. BUT, is that worth the $100 million dollars he’s going to ask for?
Nick Markakis is a a consummate professional and one of the most respected right fielders in baseball, and we got him for cheap. He’s locked up long term, and with the exception of his power, his numbers are showing no signs of regression after neck surgery. When Nick is fully recovered next season, I expect about 15-20 home runs out of him. It’s hard to complain about a guy who’s hitting .302 and is an elite defender. Jason’s average is up this year, .289 as of today, but he has struck out 67 times compared to Nick’s 62 times. He has more home runs, but as aforementioned, Nick’s power will return and he has a team friendly contract.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Jason. I wish him the best of luck wherever he goes. I’m just saying that this front office isn’t going to offer him big money, and a lot of you are chasing a pipe dream. My prediction is that Jason will accept an offer from the Cubs, Cardinals, Red Sox, Dodgers, or Yankees for about 5 years, $110 million. That’s roughly $22 million a year. Big market teams are willing to overpay for players like Jason, and while he is a great talent but he’s simply not worth the money.
It’s a tough pill to swallow, guys. I know a lot of you considered Jason to be the next “career Brave” like Chipper Jones, but baseball is a business; plain and simple. Think of our return. Shelby Miller is the best pitcher on our staff; his numbers don’t reflect the pitiful run support he’s been given this year. He is our ace at just 24 years old. Tyrell Jenkins has shown flashes of a future #2 starter, and is one of the top prospects in our system as he seemingly improves every time he moves up a level.
Heyward claims that the front office never at any time approached him about an extension. Perhaps it was his inconsistency at the plate or perhaps they realized what his future price tag would be. Whatever the reason, the front office made the right decision. Jason was a fan favorite, and he will be missed, but it’s time to let him go.