The Braves today signed Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Chris Johnson, and Jordan Schafer to one year deals, there-by avoiding arbitration hearings with 4 of their 7 eligible players. However, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, and Craig Kimbrel were all unable to reach an agreement with the team.
As the Braves are a “file-and-trial” team, this means that all negotiations with these players will cease, and that an arbitration trial will be held. Below are the figures that were exchanged, as reported by Jon Heyman, and Wren’s quote about file and trial, from DOB.
#Braves Wren: “We have an organization philosophy of the filing date is our last date to negotiate prior to a hearing. We’re done.”
Freeman files at $5.75M, braves $4.5M
Heyward files at $5.5M, braves $5.2M
As others reported, Kimbrel filed at $9M, braves $6.55M
While arbitration hearings are never any fun, in fact they are considered to be poor for the relationship a team has with a player, GM Frank Wren says that the hearings aren’t personal. “It’s about the numbers” . Also,
Wren: ““At the end of the day, we went well above the recommended salary arbitration numbers for all of our players.” #Braves
According to the rules of arbitration hearings, explained here, “After a few hours of hearings, held in early February, the arbitrators pick one figure or the other. The arbitrator cannot “split the baby” and settle on a salary in the middle of the spread between the club’s figure and the player’s. One side leaves the arbitration a winner and the other a loser” (via Baseball Prospectus). Of the 3 cases the Braves currently have, it’s hard to predict the outcomes, but it’s likely that Kimbrel will win his, while Freeman and Heyward are both toss-ups.
The Heyward situation is intriguing, given the relatively small difference of the two figures. Last time that happened, Martin Prado was traded, after being unable to reach an agreement with a difference of 400k. While Heyward isn’t likely to be traded, this is a bit concerning with regards to Heyward’s long term future with the team.