Sep 26, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) and right fielder Jason Heyward (22) celebrate after a home run against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves Head Into Arbitration Period With Stars On The Line


The possible nightmarish 2014 arbitration period is about to begin on February 1st with three of the Atlanta Braves stars being a part of this – Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel.

When numbers were announced, the Braves dominant closer was offered $6.55 million when in fact Kimbrel was asking for a $9 million salary.

Sep 20, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Craig Kimbrel and infielder Freddie Freeman react after their game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 20, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Craig Kimbrel and infielder Freddie Freeman react after their game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Freeman had requested a $5.75 million salary and the Braves offered $4.5 million.

Heyward requested a $5.5 million salary and the Braves are offering $5.2 million – Yes, that’s $300,000 if you’re counting from home.

“I know the way we conduct ourselves in the hearing room and the way we go about it,” Wren said.  “It’s not personal.  It’s about the numbers.  The numbers speak for themselves.  You’re comparing player to player — Player A to Player B and the salary associated with that player.  It’s really not a personal attack on a player.  You would hope they would understand this is part of the process.”

This will be the first time the Braves have taken a player to the hearing since 2001, when Atlanta won the case against John Rocker.

Ever since news came out that these three players were unable to come to an agreement with the Braves, folks reverted their attention to the fact that this will hurt the relationship with the two sides.

Arbitration is a war no matter which way you look at it or what people say about it.  It’s the organization going up against the player and his team to decide on money.  Money is a crazy thing in the world we live in – it can ruin a marriage, feed children, live in paradise etc, etc….

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Though we think alliances came be harmed by going into the arbitration hearings, Braves GM Frank Wren thinks otherwise and doesn’t believe on holding any ill will toward players who go to arbitration hearings.

“We don’t look at it as an antagonistic process.  We look at it as a solution to a disagreement on a player’s salary.”

Should you adhere in what Mr. Wren says?

Well, it’s possible….

The Braves think of themselves as a “file and trial” club meaning they will allow the process to reach a hearing in front of the panel to decide salaries for next season if remuneration isn’t agreed upon at initial talks.

Most teams prefer their cases not to be decided this way, preferring instead to come to an agreement internally rather than debating value with their players and allowing an independent committee to choose a winner.

So why would teams employ the file and trial strategy?  Three years ago, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com, Jordan Bastian, “The thought was really it’s hopefully to encourage more dialogue in negotiations with the goal of continuing to avoid arbitration and continuing to try to get deals done and maybe bring both parties to the table a little bit sooner.”  

How do the Braves players going into the arbitration period think….?

“When [the hearing] happens, it happens,” Freeman said.  “That’s stuff for my agents.  I’ll let them deal with it.  I just have to get ready for the season.  If I have to go down there whenever my hearing is, I’ll go down there.  Whatever happens, happens.”

“That’s just part of baseball,” Heyward said.  “You expect it, understand it and get caught up to speed.  After that, it’s ‘Play ball.’  This is a side that everybody goes through.  We all have to do it.  After that, just have fun.”

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