Seven Braves File For Arbitration With Atlanta

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Closer Craig Kimbrel.
Closer Craig Kimbrel.
- photo by Tim Evearitt

ATLANTA -- Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Chris Johnson and Jordan Schafer filed for salary arbitration before Tuesday's deadline. Now, the stage is set for each player and the club to exchange salary figures on Friday. 

The Braves have made it known that they are now a file-and-trial club. This means if an agreement is not reached within the next few days and salary figures are exchanged with a player on Friday, the club will immediately end negotiations and plan to go to an arbitration hearing during which that particular player's 2014 salary will be determined.

Less than a week before being traded to the Diamondbacks last year, Martin Prado was the only player to exchange figures with the Braves. Had he not been traded, Prado would have become the first Atlanta player to go to a hearing since John Rocker in 2001.

While many fans have wondered whether the Braves might attempt to lock up Heyward or Freeman with a long-term multiyear deal this winter, there has not yet been any attempt to do so. Atlanta approached Heyward with this possibility last year before the discussion was abruptly halted.

Among these Braves players, Kimbrel and Freeman are going to gain the most significant raises. This year marks the first they have been eligible for arbitration.

During the negotiations and potential hearing, Kimbrel will be compared to Jonathan Papelbon, who received a $6.25 million salary when he was arbitration-eligible for the first time with the Red Sox after the 2008 season. Kimbrel's salary is expected to rise from $655,000 to somewhere between $7 millon and $7.25 million.

Freeman, who finished fourth in this year's National League Most Valuable Player Award balloting, is expected to see his salary rise from $560,000 to the vicinity of $5 million.

Heyward gained a $3.65 million salary as a first-time arbitration-eligible last year. After missing two months this past season, he will likely receive a raise of approximately $1 million.

Medlen's value has risen significantly since he became a starting pitcher on a full-time basis on July 31, 2013. The 2.47 ERA he has since compiled ranks second only to Clayton Kershaw among all pitchers who have made at least 40 starts during this span. As a second-year arbitration-eligible, Medlen will likely double the $2.6 million salary he received this year.

It is safe to say Johnson will be receiving more than the Braves projected when they acquired him in the deal that also brought Justin Upton to Atlanta last year. After ranking second in the NL with a .321 batting average, Johnson could see the $2.29 million salary he received this past year move just above the $4 million mark.

Like Kimbrel and Freeman, Minor and Schafer are eligible for the arbitration process for the first time this year. Minor compiled enough service time to gain this status as a Super Two player. This means he will be eligible for arbitration for four years, one year more than the norm.

The Braves entered the offseason with 14 arbitration-eligible players and then opted to not tender contracts to Elliot Johnson, Cristhian Martinez, and former Lookout Paul Janish. They further whittled that list down by reaching agreements with Jordan Walden, Jonny Venters, Brandon Beachy, and Ramiro Pena.  

----- Source: MLB.com

Jason Heyward
Jason Heyward
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt

Randy Smith: Prelude To National Signing Day

I have never been one to get very excited about college football recruiting. It doesn't matter how many "blue-chip" players or "five-star" players you sign into your program, if you don't keep them and develop them into the great athletes they are projected to be, you haven't succeeded at all. Alabama has signed four straight top-rated classes in a row, but the Crimson Tide's last ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Celebrate's Byrd's 1000 Point, Defeats Sequatchie County

Notre Dame celebrated Tyler Byrd's 1000th career point Tuesday evening. Byrd tallied his 1000 point against Bledsoe County on December 16th. The Irish also celebrated a 68-42 win over Sequatchie County. Notre Dame was led by Bird with 21 points in Tuesday night's win. Kealey Green added 19 for the Irish while Greer and Flemister scored 11 and 10 points each. Sequatchie ... (click for more)

6,533 Apply For Chattanooga Housing Authority Voucher Program

The Chattanooga Housing Authority closed its Housing Choice Voucher Program application process Monday at 11:59 p.m. There were 6,533 applicants. CHA will randomly select 1,000 of those names on Monday, for the voucher program waiting list. Anyone who is not selected will need to apply again in the future.  The Housing Choice Voucher program is a federal government program ... (click for more)

Times Free Press Pays Bonuses, Has Layoffs

The Chattanooga Times Free Press told employees on Monday that the newspaper had improved financial performance over the prior year quarters and employees were receiving two percent bonuses. Sources said at the same time, the newspaper announced some layoffs. Those include four people in the newsroom and an unspecified number in other departments. Bruce Hartmann, president, ... (click for more)

Shelley Andrews Will Be Missed

Shelley Andrews was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and most effective laborers in our community.  Her work with the Friends of Moccasin Bend was exemplary.  She listened, she learned and she led with dignity and class. Her brave battle with ovarian cancer was a testament to her positive spirit and commitment to her work on behalf of the people of this region. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: He’s Exempt From Drunk

I love the old story about a popular Senator who, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, was asked late one evening, “Sir, what if we get bombed?” to which came the quick reply, “I’d be absolutely delighted … I can get one of my aides to drive us home afterwards.” You think of stuff like that when word comes from Kentucky that state legislator Brandon Smith was caught driving erratically ... (click for more)