Today, Slade Heathcott was given his unconditional release by the New York Yankees. The 25 year old was taken in the 1st round of the 2009 draft, and has only been given limited time during the majors due to the depth of the Yankees’ outfield. Heathcott is a former top prospect, but he does come with some baggage. In high school, he was arrested for a DUI, was kicked off the baseball team, and pointed a shotgun at his father during an argument. Heathcott went to meetings about his alcoholism, and has been without incident for a long time. He claims that he found religion and is a completely different person.
Let’s get to the important part, can he play? He’s had an unimpressive career in the minors, but he’s had success in the MLB given a small sample size. Heathcott hit .400 in 25 at bats with 2 HRs and 8 RBIs. However, in 8 seasons in the minors, he’s hit a measly .265 with 22 career HRs. As unimpressive as the numbers may be; Heathcott is still young, he will be cheap, and he’s a low risk-high reward player. Even if it’s a minor league deal, he will get a shot with another team due to his potential. Atlanta should be that team to give him a chance. If he plays well, if (when) Markakis is traded, he can slot to LF and Inciarte can slide over to RF. It’s time to take a gamble on a guy who hasn’t been given much of a chance yet.