Braves Will Go To Arbitration Hearings With Kimbrel, Freeman, Heyward

Braves GM Frank Wren says that his club will take its arbitration case to a hearing with the club's three remaining arbitration-filing players, reports David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). Wren says that the club will not have any further negotiations with closer Craig Kimbrel, first baseman Freddie Freeman, and outfielder Jason Heyward.

The Braves are a noted "file and trial" club, and Wren's statements indicate that the club intends to stand by its position. "We have an organization philosophy of the filing date is our last date to negotiate prior to a hearing," said Wren. "We're done." None of the other "file and trial" clubs — the Blue Jays, Marlins, Pirates, Rays, Reds, and White Sox — has any players yet to reach agreement. (The Pirates and Reds are new additions to the list, per tweets from MLBTR's Tim Dierkes and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.) For the first time ever, no players went to an arbitration hearing last year, but that apparently will not be the case for 2014.

As O'Brien explains, the Braves have not had a hearing since John Rocker back in 2001. The club avoided arbitration in 2009 with Jeff Francoeur just before a hearing, but has adopted its strict negotiating policy since that time.

Needless to say, those three players represent both a critical component of the team's young core and a substantial portion of its current and future payroll. Kimbrel, in particular, represents a fascinating arbitration case given his historic early-career performance from the back end of the pen. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects him to earn a $7.25MM salary in his first trip through arbitration, with Freeman and Heyward projected to take home $4.9MM and $4.5MM, respectively.

Wren discussed the club's negotiations as well, as Mark Bowman of reports on Twitter"At the end of the day," Wren said, "we went well above the recommended salary arbitration numbers for all of our players."

The filing splits between player and team show that the Braves' filing numbers were in the ballpark of Swartz's projections. (The club may, of course, have been willing to go somewhat higher to avoid a hearing.) Kimbrel asked for $9MM, with the team countering at $6.55MM, while Freeman ($5.75MM vs. $4.5MM) and Heyward ($5.5MM vs. $5.2MM) also landed right around the projected dollar amounts.

31 Responses to Braves Will Go To Arbitration Hearings With Kimbrel, Freeman, Heyward Leave a Reply

  1. teddy 2 years ago

    dang, if im a braves fan im not happy to see freeman and heyward go to arb

    • Nathan Justice 2 years ago

      Yup I am not.

      • Matt Talbert 2 years ago

        Freeman will sign I believe, but Heyward is cluing that he doesn’t even want to. If he’s creating some bad blood perhaps its time to move him to a team that can sign him long term – what teams have a couple of A- prospects they can afford to part with AND possibly need a decent young OF…only two teams come to mind: Seattle and Texas.

  2. tomymogo 2 years ago

    I would sign Heyward and Freeman long-term and I know it would take a huge contract to get it done.

    My offer would be this:

    – Jason Heyward 10 years 150 million and that offer includes his 2 final years of arbitration (including 2014). Average anual value of 15 million.
    – Freddy Freeman 6 years 85 million and that offer includes 3 arb years. Average anual value of 14 million.

    That way they make sure they keep 2 important core players for a long time at an affordable price.

    • Nathan Justice 2 years ago

      You realize the Braves are hamstrung by ol Frank’s horrible FA deals right?

      • rundmc1981 2 years ago

        We’ve survived Kawakami, Derek Lowe and after next season, Dan Uggla, so we’re unfortunately used to it…though it doesn’t make it any easier.

        • Nathan Justice 2 years ago

          True but kawakami was only 3 years and relatively little money and they were actually able to get rid of Lowe. A college team wouldn’t take Dan Uggla. Hopefully somehow BJ gets it together.

          • rundmc1981 2 years ago

            Yes, but that’s what we paid him, not what he played at the MLB level. If you remember, we (banished) sent him to AA the final year of his deal. All-in-all, we paid $22MM for 243 IP and a -0.2 WAR. Uggla was bad, but he wasn’t given a lot of innings after his eye surgery. All of that was poorly handled both by Uggla and by the Braves. To allow him to do it in the middle of the season was a silly mistake that any amateur wouldn’t have made. Wait until November Dan, then you can see your kids clearly.

            Yes, we were able to get rid of Lowe, but we still paid $10MM for him NOT to pitch for us, with CLE kicking in the final $5MM. To me, that’s barely a consolation.

          • Rafael Belliard 2 years ago

            My men’s softball team wouldn’t even take Uggla…actually he’d probably mash some softballs, nevermind. I see some softball in Ugg’s future for sure!

    • atlbraves312 2 years ago

      Are you kidding right? According to the arbitration projects, the Braves would only have about $10 million to spend after all is said and done. There’s NO way they would afford that because they already blew 1/3 of their payroll on B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla. Yeah, B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla. Just let that sink in for a bit.

      • -C 2 years ago

        Sure you could, although Heyward’s not going to accept that offer.

        Uggla’s off the books after the 2015 season, and both players are on arb contracts until then. So while the AAV would be higher, you’re not paying them peak amounts on an extension until 2016 at the earliest. Uggla doesn’t really have any effect upon long-term deals with these two, though B.J. would likely cause some issues.

        Starting in 2017, the Braves are going to have access to a lot more revenue thanks to the new stadium and owning the surrounding entertainment district, so it’s not as if the available payroll will be stagnant, even with a horrible TV deal.


        • atlbraves312 2 years ago

          You do have a good point. I really hope we can keep our main core players together for the 2017 season.

    • rundmc1981 2 years ago

      That’s absurd. Let JHey walk then. How does Freeman get substantially much less though he’s only 1 year behind, especially considering Freeman and not JHey will earn more through arb.

      Freeman is the one you want to be giving the contract to, but even then, I don’t see a player signing a 10-year deal in this market, which would be good for ATL. Look at Evan Longoria’s deal(s) with TB and that should be how ATL approaches some of their stars, not throwing nearly twice as large a contract as the largest the franchise has ever signed (BJ Upton, 2013, for 5/$75.25MM).

    • tomymogo 2 years ago

      Obviously this contracts will be back-loaded. The arb years will have a low anual value and their FA years will be higher.

      Let’s be realistic, if this guys get to free agency, they’re gone. But can they keep Freeman, Heyward, Kimbrel, Medlen, Minor, Justin Upton, etc after 2015-2017. Probably not, so let some go, but keep Heyward, Freeman and Minor and keep developing young talent.

    • Raymond C Laracuenta 2 years ago

      Heyward has proven nothing to earn a ten year deal. He is either hurt or being bounced around the line up trying to find consistency. FF is a keeper. Heyward is an illusion that may cost Wren his job if he does not broom him quick for a 1-2 type arm.

    • Dbacksfan44 2 years ago

      10 years seems to much for Heyward

  3. Nathan Justice 2 years ago

    Just change the name to the Atlanta “By the Books”.

  4. Nathan Boley 2 years ago

    How is Atlanta going to afford Heyward and Freeman longterm when they’re paying Uggla and B.J. Upton those big bucks? One of them will probably be cut loose eventually.

    • Nathan Justice 2 years ago

      It’s gonna be Freeman I bet

    • rundmc1981 2 years ago

      Uggla’s just through next year. How? Possibly backloading deals with expected money coming in from new stadium, but that’s counting chickens before they’re hatched. Should be noted that JHey is 2 years away from FA, while Freeman is 3.

  5. MrSativa 2 years ago

    Braves being smart. They have several rookies in the works who will require millions while in arbitration.

  6. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

    The Braves’ file and trial policy may come back to bite them. The outcome of the Kimbrel hearing will make a big difference in the end. If Kimbrel makes 9 MM his first year, he will be making 15-20 MM by year 3. No team should pay that much for a closer, even if hes the best around!

    • johnsilver 2 years ago

      They can either non tender him after 2014, or sign him to a LT contract. You know Kimbrel is relishing getting to the open market sooner than 6y and really.. Who in these times pays a closer north of 10m, even one that puts up the best in the game?

      He makes 9m in 2014 and it will be hard to go to arbitration with him for either side.. How does he present his case with recent history closers salary wise, with only Mo making 15m or so and Atlanta taking a huge risk if Kimbrell asked for that figure and won.

      All taking into account Kimbrell wins this year at 9m, then 15m would be an area he asked for next season of course.

    • Nathan Justice 2 years ago

      Honestly I think the Braves should trade Kimbrel and get a big return for him.

      • Kayrall 2 years ago

        Who might be willing to give up a big prospect haul for him?

        • Nathan Justice 2 years ago

          Ok lemme rephrase maybe we trade kimbrel and get an ok return but the team has to take Uggla and most of his money or BJ and most of his money. Hahaha.

          • Kayrall 2 years ago

            I wasn’t saying “Who would give them anything for Kimbrel??? PFT NOBODY!” I was honestly wondering which teams have a big need for a closer and would be willing to give up good bodies for him.

            Because believe me, I agree with you with the whole trade high buy low mentality.

  7. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 2 years ago

    How is it that the Braves appear to be so short on cash?

  8. Matt Talbert 2 years ago

    I’m thinking that Atlanta will just miss the window of long term success because I believe that the new park will pay dividends, however that will take awhile and by that time I’m not so sure we will have the core in place. I’m glad we got Hart as our scouting guru that will be a big boost to developing our farm system.

  9. MJ 2 years ago

    Kimbrel really messed up by asking for so much in his first arb year. If he didn’t want to take the Braves offer, he should have submitted more around 7.5 mil. No arbitrator is giving him 9 mil.

    The case is similar to Kershaw’s first arb year. Kershaw filed for $10 mil and LAD $6.5. Ultimately they reached a 2 year agreement and it was never heard, but the point being Craig Kimbrel is not a starting pitcher. So if he thinks he’s actually winning this thing he’s delusional.

    This is coming from someone whose favorite player is Kimbrel and believes he deserves a good chunk of money. Had he asked for 7.5 mil, pretty sure he would have gotten it. Maybe even 8 mil. But 9 mil? Yeah, he went too far on that one.

    Sorry Craig, you goof’d.

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