With the tragic passing of Oscar Taveras on October 26th, 2014, General Manager John Mozeliak was put to the unfortunate task of finding an immediate "replacement" capable of playing right field for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015. Just over three weeks later, Mozeliak found a willing trade partner in the Atlanta Braves—acquiring Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden in exchange for Shelby Miller and pitching Tyrell Jenkins.
As you likely already know, Jenkins was one of my favorite prospects in the organization because I maintained high hopes for the refinement of his raw, but electric stuff, especially his two-seamer and breaking ball. Plus, he was always generous with his time and made himself available to questions whenever I had them. Well, he may be in the Braves organization now, but, if you're like me, you've always wondered what it was like to be traded. The fact that he was involved in a blockbuster deal such as this one, I just had to ask (after letting ample time pass of course), and as usual, he obliged and was actually quite candid with his responses.
On whether he had any idea there was a possibility of him being traded while competing in the Arizona Fall League:
"Nothing at all triggered me into thinking I'd get traded. I figured I for sure had a 40-man spot locked up with the Birds. Nothing hit until I didn't pitch in the [AFL] championship game. I was wondering why I didn't throw, and it hit me that next morning that I might be on the trading block."
I will have to say, despite a constant barrage of "news" on Twitter, rumors of this trade were pretty much nonexistent leading up to the news breaking. With some players learning of trades via social media these days, I'm curious, how did you find out?
"[Cardinals farm director] Gary LaRocque called me that morning around 8 and told me they were happy and impressed with my year. There was a trade, and I was involved in it. I was going to the Atlanta Braves. I also got a call from Mike Matheny that morning telling me how [baseball] is a business and how he wished me the best."
Being dealt by the team that drafted you obviously isn't "fun," but it was at least reassuring to know that you were included as a valuable piece in a trade for a player as good as Heyward, right?
"You are right. At first, I was kind of down because I was being traded from the team who gave me a chance in the first place. Once I talked to my agent and realized who it was for [Heyward], I was super ecstatic!"
On if his opinion of the Cardinals has changed at all:
"Nothing's really changed besides I'm with the Atlanta Braves. The Cardinals are a great organization with plenty of brilliant history. They definitely do things the right way. I felt loved when so many guys and coaches reached out to me to express how I would be missed. I'm so blessed to have been drafted by St. Louis, but now I'm ready for the next chapter in my career."
When asked about who with the Braves contacted him the day of the trade:
"That first day, everyone from the front office to the big league management staff reached out to me. It was pretty awesome to hear how excited were to have gotten me. I knew a few guys in that organization from the fall league, and they were just elated to hear I was joining them next year! I went about that day as normal as possible, but my phone was going nuts all day. Now, I'm just pumped to get read for Spring Training in Orlando."
I am extremely grateful for the time Tyrell took to discuss his personal experience with the trade. He may no longer be in the Cardinals organization, but I absolutely wish him the best, unless, of course, he's facing off against St. Louis in the NLCS down the road.
Keep up with him on Twitter: @TyrellJenkins14