UPDATE: The Braves have reached a 2-year agreement with Jason Heyward to buy out his arbitration years, and there is a reported, long-term extension with Freddie Freeman that would also avoid arbitration. Stay tuned to ATL All Day for all of your updates as they arrive.
The arbitration saga for the Atlanta Braves is in the midst of a bit of a lull right now, but we have a defined time period for when things will begin to clarify themselves.
#Braves arbitration hearings schedule: Freeman Feb. 11; Heyward Feb. 13; Kimbrel Feb. 17.
— David O’Brien (@ajcbraves) February 4, 2014
When we last checked in over two weeks ago, the Braves were swapping arbitration numbers with Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, and Craig Kimbrel, setting the stage for the hearings referenced above by David O’Brien of the AJC. In short, the Braves are a “file-and-trial” team, meaning that they will not continue to negotiation after the final numbers are exchanged, and as a result, three of the team’s cornerstone players have contracts in limbo.
All 3 players have varying degrees of discourse, as the team is very far apart on Craig Kimbrel, mildly distant from Freddie Freeman, and actually quite close ($300,000 difference) with Jason Heyward. In all honesty, Freeman and Heyward are mild worries at best, at least in the short-term, with Kimbrel taking the driver’s seat as far as focus, simply because of his potentially unprecedented salary for a 1st-arb year closer and the fact that he has the asking price of any arbitration-eligible MLB player.
The casual fan would probably just like to know that all three guys are signed up for the 2014 season (and by the way, they aren’t going anywhere this year), but all 3 decisions could have lasting impact, especially for an organization with a famously tight budget. Stay tuned.