The big story Tuesday came out of Atlanta. The Braves locked up first baseman Freddie Freeman with an eight-year, $135 million extension not long after reaching a shorter extension with star right fielder Jason Heyward.
Atlanta has forsaken their usual file and trail process and avoided arbitration with two of the three players that were headed toward a hearing. Craig Kimbrel is now the last man standing from eleven arbitration-eligible Braves. His case poses a problem for Atlanta, but apart from this upcoming battle, the Braves are now in excellent shape for the near future.
The Freeman extension is huge for Atlanta because unlike nouveau riche clubs from smaller markets like the Indians, Reds and Padres, the Braves can't look to a sweet television deal to help them expand their payroll. They are a young team and one of the best in the game right now, so deals like the Freeman extension are their key to staying at the top.
Teams like the Braves, who can't simply outspend their competitors, have to be aggressive when it comes to locking up their young talent, but the value of extending stars players in their pre-arb or arbitration-eligible years is not lost on the clubs with the big money either. Right now, if you have a young star producing big numbers at the league-minimum, you are trying to lock that player up for as long as you can.
So who will be the next young star to land a headline-grabbing extension? Will the Braves complete the trifecta and lock up Kimbrel? Will it be Bryce Harper or Mike Trout? Will the Red Sox throw caution to the wind and ink Xander Bogaerts before he can play his 19th major league game? Who will be the next Freddie Freeman and what kind of deal will they get?
Breakfast Links 2/05:
- Original Report: Brian Burres to hold showcase Thursday -- The veteran lefty spent the 2013 in Taiwan, but he wants to pitch in America this season and he will be making his case this week.
- Marlins sign Jeff Baker to 2-year, $3.7 million deal -- Baker is exactly the kind of guy that teams pick up this time of year. He can play a few positions, he has hit near league-aver... Wait- he got two years? What the..
- This spring's top closer battles -- Tyler Drenon looks at the players battling it out for closing roles this spring.
- Stephen Drew rumors: Mets make offer to free agent SS -- It turns out the Drew is still a person and the Mets are still a baseball team. You know, this seems like a good fit.