Heyward to Cardinals in four-player swap

The Cardinals and Braves made possibly the biggest splash yet this offseason, pulling off a four-player trade on Monday that has Atlanta sending Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden to the Cardinals in exchange for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.

The Braves had been expected to listen to offers for both Heyward and fellow outfielder Justin Upton, among others, but it was expected that they would try to move Upton before Heyward. Instead, it’s the 25-year-old Heyward on his way to join the Cardinals.

Heyward, who is owed $7.8 million in the final year of his contract in 2015, is one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, though his offensive inconsistencies left something to be desired in Atlanta.

As for the Braves’ return, they get a much-needed boost to their rotation in Miller, who just turned 24 years old. The 19th overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Miller is 26-18 with a 3.33 ERA in 69 outings (63 starts) in his young big league career. Atlanta also received the Cardinals’ No. 14 overall prospect in Jenkins, the 50th overall pick in the 2010 Draft. Jenkins has hit some speed bumps since being drafted, including shoulder surgery in Aug. 2013, but still has the potential to become a top-end starter down the road.

— Paul Casella

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