Atlanta Braves might have a familiar trade option for the outfield
There won’t be a rumor sheet from the Braves on this one unless it were to actually happen, so we’re just gonna have to go with these known facts:
- The Cubs want Harper
- The Cubs are motivated to move salary to do it.. probably quickly, too.
- The Braves need a right fielder
- The Braves’ options for that position are getting quite limited
But Atlanta isn’t simply going to tell the Cubs to send him over without a lot more being involved. Here are two plausible scenarios – but please: feel free to insert your own:
THE BROTHERLY LOVE CONNECTION
- Braves get Heyward and catcher Willson Contreras, the latter of which is not even arbitration-eligible yet. Cubs get Tyler Flowers, which is a wash offensively for them.
- Cubs still have former Brave Victor Caratini to catch with Flowers
- Net salary swap is ~$13+ million more for Atlanta; Cubs that much less.
- Sets up a possible future catching tandem of Contreras and Contreras once the younger brother reaches the majors.
THE 3-WAY PLAY
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Braves get Heyward and $30 million from the Cubs spread over 5 years and catcher J.T. Realmuto from Miami
Cubs get a middling prospect from the Braves while Atlanta takes Heyward’s full contract.
- Net salary swap is about $14 million extra (for 2019) for Atlanta since Flowers and Realmuto’s numbers will be about the same.
- Cubs net $14 million less.
- Miami ‘s payroll remains the same… actually saving some 2020 money.
This would be a tricky trade – no doubt. But it’s one that could work to benefit all clubs involved. As with all speculation, though, the chance of it coming to pass is vanishingly close to zero… but it’s fun to play General Manager regardless.
But in all of this, there is still the nagging notion that Heyward is (easily) available, the Cubs are motivated, and the Braves… should be as well.
Those #22 shirtsies where you scratched out ‘Heyward’ and wrote in ‘Markakis’? Guess what?