Stray tweets months after a completed deal usually don't make good fodder for stories. But put on a Phil Hartman-does-Sinatra voice and say it with me: This rumor, baby, this rumor has juice. Joel Sherman of the Post tweeted that the Yankees were interested in Jason Heyward, and that the Giants were close to getting him before the Cardinals swooped in.
This is a surprise, if only because it's so incredibly fascinating. The Giants with a defensive-minded player who has the potential to become much, much more? And a substantial injury history? On a one-year deal? What a risk. What an idea. What a mess. What a delight. It's all so very un-Giants.
Consider what the Cardinals gave up for Heyward: a non-elite prospect and a established, young starting pitcher. The Giants don't have anything close to that; the only majors-ready prospect that could be included in a deal like that would be Andrew Susac, and the Braves are already enamored of their young catcher, Christian Bethancourt. They certainly don't have an analog for Shelby Miller, so I wasn't too distraught when they missed out on Heyward.
That was before we saw how the offseason played out, before we realized the Braves were punting the ball on third down. The bizarre Nick Markakis deal aside, the Braves are in full-rebuild mode. That wasn't clear when they got Miller, but it sure is now. Which means the Braves might have been tempted by the combination of quality and quantity the Giants could offer. Even if the Giants didn't want to offer Susac, they could have offered safe arms from the upper minors (Clayton Blackburn), high-upside arms (Kyle Crick), and lower-minors raffle tickets (Adalberto Mejia, et al). They could have tied a bunch of them together in a prospect garni, and perhaps it would have been enough if the Cardinals weren't willing to deal a pitcher who was more established.
Would it have been a good idea, though? You really, really have to dig the newfangled defensive stats if you consider Heyward a roster-changing superstar, and his latent potential is a lot more compelling if he's around for a couple of years, and not a free agent after the season. There's the underrated benefit of an exclusive negotiation window for an extension, though.
Of course, we would need to see the actual proposed deal to offer an informed opinion, and those are two things that would never happen. We'll never know the proposed deal, and we'll never offer an informed opinion. Could be a new site tagline. I can sure come up with a lot of fictitious deals that I'd agree to for Heyward, though, even if the best move of the Giants offseason (Norichika Aoki for fourth-outfielder money) wouldn't have happened.
Oh, the deals that are never made. We'll never know what the Giants would have looked like if they acquired Ryan Howard for Jason Schmidt, and we'll never know what would have happened with Jason Heyward. Of all the silly, post-deal rumors, though, this one is one of my favorites. The different permutations of what could have been are fascinating.