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Will the Braves be able to lock up their core?

Feb 2, 2014, 7:25 PM EDT

Jason Heyward AP

The Braves’ winter full of arbitration cases was an indication of the problems lurking just beyond the horizon — their core of young, talented players is starting to get very expensive, and inching ever closer to free agency. The organization has been among the more thrifty in Major League Baseball lately, keeping a payroll below $100 million in each of the last five seasons. As Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes, it will be tough for the Braves to lock up their core players. Brian McCann received the Braves’ last contract extension: a six-year, $26.8 million extension signed in March 2007.

The Braves had 14 arbitration eligible players this off-season. They tendered contracts to 11 of them:

They will go to arbitration hearings with outfielder Jason Heyward (second year of arbitration eligibility), first baseman Freddie Freeman (first year), and closer Craig Kimbrel (first year). The midpoint between the salary figures submitted by the Braves and both Freeman and Heyward is around $5 million, while it’s around $7 million for Kimbrel.

The more Sabermetrically-inclined in the Braves blogosphere have suggested that the Braves should trade Kimbrel, so that would be one solution to one dilemma. Locking up Heyward, Freeman, Medlen, Minor, and Beachy will be trickier. The longer the Braves wait, the more expensive their core becomes and the more likely it becomes that they will watch their key players eventually walk away into free agency. The Braves are among the best in the business at recognizing and developing talent, but even they can’t count on consistently churning out Freemans, Minors, and Heywards to replace outgoing talent.

  1. happytwinsfan - Feb 2, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    during the super bowl, posting on a hbt thread not even about a team in the same league as your own team, we the proud, the few, the socially isolated baseball fan.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 2, 2014 at 7:53 PM

      I will give you a hint about the probable outcome of the Super Bowl. Recently, Rob Ford wore a Bronco’s uniform in City Hall. When he wore a Bills uniform in City Hall, the Bills lost. When he wore an Argos uniform in City Hall the Toronto Argos lost.

      • happytwinsfan - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:01 PM

        indeed. it appears archie manning isn’t doing so well.

        where the hell is craig? he is a braves fan, yes? for that matter where the hell is dirtyharry? come on harry, we got a rob ford reference. fresh meat!!

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:08 PM

        Unclean Harold is watching the slaughter of the Bronco’s. He did not respond to my last comment about the Yankee pitchers on the latest Burnett thread.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:12 PM

        Correction: My last conversation with unclean Harold was probably in the Arroyo thread.

      • happytwinsfan - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:20 PM

        somebody should at least say something about the braves here. i’ll try.

        1991, 1991 nanna nanna doo doo !!

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:27 PM

        Otis Nixon tried to bunt and was out at first. Consequently, the Jays won the World Series over the Braves.

      • happytwinsfan - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:29 PM

        i saw greg maddux’s moma kicking a can down the street the other day. i asked her what she was doing. she said “movin”.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:33 PM

        Seattle just scored another TD on the second half kick off. There should be a minor migration to this site soon.

      • happytwinsfan - Feb 2, 2014 at 8:43 PM

        fun to be had until they do.

        upper midwestners and by association canadians are by far morally superior to clay eating georgians as evidenced by the divinely mandated triumphs of the 1991 and 1992 world series.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 2, 2014 at 9:11 PM

        Amen!

      • cur'68 - Feb 2, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        War of 1812, yo

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 3, 2014 at 12:29 AM

        Nobody and I mean NOBODY cares about Toronto or their jerk of a mayor son, we folks in the good ole USA could care less about you aholes, start the bombing tomorrow please!

  2. cackalackyank - Feb 2, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    Well, I mean they could stay in their 20 year old ballpark, lock up that core of young stars, and contend. But that’s just silly talk.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 2, 2014 at 9:14 PM

      Hark! Another refugee from the destruction of Omaha.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Feb 3, 2014 at 12:30 AM

        Hark! Your team is gonna be 30 games OUT!!

      • dylanthom2013 - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:43 AM

        Hark! When “dirtyharry” dies, no one will be at his funeral except for the priest who’ll be there by obligation. No one to carry his casket to the grave, so they’ll just dump it on the ground and forget about it, just like his parents did to him when he was born.

    • happytwinsfan - Feb 2, 2014 at 9:14 PM

      thank god, a baseball comment at last. 15 minutes and 33 seconds of playing time until the end of the football season. they just had bobby zimmerman formerly of u of m dinky town advertising for some car. all good things trace back to the land of white halloweens.

    • happytwinsfan - Feb 2, 2014 at 10:21 PM

      okay, one last provocation then i’m going to sleep.

      gorgian clay eaters, what are you canadian (no offense PC). you got what was it 2 or so inches of snow and had an apocalypse shut down. we had a -15 one morning and 6 – 8 inches, from early morning on through rush hour the next morning, and we rolled through it, which is why you probably ain’t heard nothing about it. wasn’t nothing worth saying about it. wussies.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 3, 2014 at 6:35 AM

        A little bit of snow (the kind that falls to the ground) should not have caused havoc in Georgia).

  3. joecool16280 - Feb 2, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    A direct answer to the headline:

    Not with that AWESOME 20 year tv contract.

  4. deep64blue - Feb 3, 2014 at 6:22 AM

    Pity the linked article is hidden behind a pay wall :-(

  5. shyts7 - Feb 3, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    Hopefully they take a cue from TB and lock up their young players before they hit arbitration. Medlen, Minor, Johnson, Pena, & Beachy should be offered buyouts and multiple year deals as soon as possible. Heyward and Freeman should of been locked up long term yesterday. Trading Kimbrel seems like an idea to think about, but, if they do that they had better get a good deal in return, otherwise, get the deal done.

    On another note, I really wish Liberty Media would just sell the Braves if you are not going to try to contend. When Turner was the owner, you could always count on him going after big names. He might not get them but at least he tried. Liberty just wants to try to win on the cheap. I understand they want a big profit, but, damn if you don’t spend money, you won’t make money.

  6. realgone2 - Feb 3, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Not a chance. They’re owned by a corporation (strike 1) and Frank Wren dumped money into 2 worthless free agents in Uggla and BJ.

  7. coryfor3 - Feb 3, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    The Braves management lately is leaving a lot to be desired. Leaving Atlanta and their already relatively new stadium for Cobb County…their ill-advised and stubborn policies on arbitration…good luck Braves fans.

    • Joe Vecchio - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      I for one am looking forward to the future Lester Maddox Stadium, wonder where the “colored only” seats will be? Oh, yes: downtown Atlanta.

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