Oct 4, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) reacts after walking Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier (not pictured) in the ninth inning of game two of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at Turner Field. The Braves won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves Likely Headed To Arbitration With Freeman, Heyward, Kimbrel and Minor

UPDATE: Mike Minor has reportedly signed a 1-year contract, coming in right before the two sides exchanged arbitration numbers. 

The Atlanta Braves had a busy day as far as contract negotiations go, signing each of Jordan Schafer, Kris Medlen and Chris Johnson to one-year contracts. However, it looks like the team is going to go to arbitration for the first time since 2001 with Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel and Mike Minor.

Here’s what Braves beat writer David O’Brien, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, had to say on the matter (linked above):

All-Stars Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman, former All-Star Jason Heyward and standout starting pitcher Mike Minor apparently did not agree to deals before Friday’s 1 p.m. deadlines for unsigned arbitration-eligible players to either do so or swap salary-arbitration figures with their teams.

Since the Braves are among teams that have adopted a “file and trial” strategy that frowns on continued negotiations after the deadline, they could be headed to February arbitration hearings with most of those four players. There was, however, still a chance the team could agree to terms Friday with any or all of the four players.

DOB mentions that the Braves are a “file and trial” team. There are several others who do this in the MLB, but this basically means that if the team and the player cannot agree to a contract by the deadline (today at 1:00) then the team would go straight to arbitration without any more negotiations. It’s pretty smart strategy (in my opinion) and has been proven effective for more than a decade now.

The last time the team went to arbitration was in 2001, when the Braves won their case “against” John Rocker. I’m not going to say that arbitration with any of the players is an obviously ideal scenario, given how ugly the cases are known for being, but three of the players headed to arbitration have a history of not wanting to negotiate with the team.

Freeman, Heyward and Kimbrel were all rumored to have been approached by the team last off season to try and negotiate extensions, but each of the players declined to talk about extensions.

Here are each of the four players’ projected salaries this season according to MLB Trade Rumors:

  • Craig Kimbrel – $7.25 million
  • Freddie Freeman – $4.9 million
  • Jason Heyward – $4.5 million
  • Mike Minor – $3.5 million

Just to give you an idea of the accuracy of these projections, let’s take a look at what Schafer, Johnson and Medlen were projected to get and what they actually received:

  • Medlen – projected $5.9 million, actually $5.8 million
  • Johnson – projected $4.2 million, actually $4.75 million
  • Schafer – projected $1 million, actually $1.09 million

Stay tuned for more on the arbitration process with all of these players and the Braves.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Craig Kimbrel Freddie Freeman Jason Heyward Mike Minor

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