The Atlanta Braves agreed to terms with first baseman Freddie Freeman on a contract extension on Tuesday, avoiding salary arbitration, and the deal could be for as much as eight years, $125 millio.
Just hours before Freeman’s deal, the Braves and outfielder Jason Heyward agreed on a two-year contract, avoiding arbitration as well.
Braves general manager Frank Wren said the deals are not a sign of the team giving up on strategy of ending negotiations with players after the arbitration deadline for exchanging salary figures had ended. That date was Jan. 17.
“It’s a very strict policy,” Wren said. “Unless talks are about a multiyear contract extension. That’s always been the policy.”
Freeman, who broke into the major leagues in 2010, has improved every year. The 24-year-old All-Star is coming off a 2013 season in which he hit .319 with 23 home runs, 109 RBIs and 89 runs scored in 147 games.
Earlier Tuesday, CBSSports.com reported Heyward’s deal is worth $13.3 million.
“Jason is an important part of our organization, and we’re glad that we were able to agree on a multiyear contract,” Wren said.
Heyward, 24, hit .254 with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs in 104 games for the Braves in 2013, his fourth season in the majors. He batted .333 over his final 31 games of the season, including .322 in 29 games from the leadoff spot.
Heyward twice went on the disabled list, as he underwent appendectomy surgery in late April and then sustained a fractured jaw when he was hit by a pitch in late August. The DL stints cost him a total of 49 games.