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Braves rumors: Atlanta, Jason Heyward haven't discussed extension

The Atlanta Braves haven't started negotiations with outfielder Jason Heyward on a multi-year contract extension.

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Atlanta Braves haven't started negotiations with outfielder Jason Heyward on a multi-year contract extension, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.

Bowman reports that the Braves are expected to attempt to buy out some of the arbitration years remaining for Heyward. The 23-year-old is set to make $3.65 million this year, and he's under team control as an arbitration-eligible player through the 2015 season.

The Braves selected Heyward in the first round (14th overall) of the 2007 MLB Draft. He immediately became considered as one of the best prospects in the game, reaching the top spot in Baseball America's ranking prior to the 2010 season. That year he hit .277/.393/.456 with 29 doubles, five triples and 18 home runs over 623 plate appearances for Atlanta.

It appeared that he was ready to take off and become a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate. However, Heyward struggled in 2011, hitting only .227/.319/.389. He rebounded last season, finishing the year with a batting line of .269/.335/.479 with 30 doubles and 27 home runs.

Considering his young age, clear potential and inconsistent production over the first three years of his major league career, negotiations on a long-term agreement between Heyward and the Braves could prove difficult. However, if he turns in another impressive campaign in 2013 he will quickly become a candidate for a lucrative multi-year extension.

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