The Braves are close to announcing an extension for Freddie Freeman, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Freeman, like teammate Jason Heyward (who reached a two-year contract agreement earlier today), is represented by Excel Sports Management.
The 24-year-old Freeman is coming off a breakout season in which he finished fifth in the National League MVP voting and earned his first All-Star nod. Freeman slashed .319/.396/.501 with 23 homers for the NL East Division champs in 2013. He and the Braves faced a fairly wide gap after exchanging arbitration figures last month, as Freeman filed for a $5.75MM salary and the Braves countered at $4.5MM.
Though the Braves are a "file and trial" team, GM Frank Wren reminded after Heyward's new contract that said policy is only in reference to one-year deals. That line of thinking is common among file and trial clubs, as they are unwilling to continue negotiating one-year pacts after exchanging figures but will typically remain amenable to extensions leading up to an arbitration hearing.
It's unclear at this time if the Braves are looking at simply buying out Freeman's arbitration years, as they did with Heyward, or if they're pursuing a long-term deal that will buy out free agent seasons as well. This is Freeman's first time through arbitration, and he is currently under team control through the 2016 season.
This post was originally published on Feb. 4, 2014.