Braves could face several arbitration hearings

The Braves avoided arbitration with three eligible players Friday while we wait word on the four who remain eligible.

 

Kris Medlen will receive $5.8 million, an increase from the $2.6 million he earned in 2013. It's a fair increase after throwing a career-high 197 innings with a 3.11 ERA and 3.48 FIP.

 

Medlen has started the Braves' first playoff game the past two years and is the oldest pitcher in the rotation until Gavin Floyd is deemed healthy, so a $5.8 million price tag is fair for the 28-year-old. He's not like the others who are entering arbitration years for the Braves in that Medlen is older for his current service time. He has just 4+ years of service time under his belt at 28, while Jason Heyward, for example, is exactly on four years at 24 years old.

 

Chris Johnson surprised everyone by breaking through for a .321/.358/.457/.354 wOBA/127 wRC+ line in 2013, earning him an increase from $2.2 million to 2014's $4.75 million. Johnson is at 3+ years of service time and 29 years old, so despite the huge increase in production, avoiding arbitration shouldn't have been too difficult.

 

The Braves also signed Jordan Schafer to a $1.09 million salary for 2014.

 

The deadline to sign players was 1 p.m., today. If players didn't sign, each side proposes a figure and, if it lasts until February, they go to an arbitration hearing to determine the dollar amount. The Braves are a "file and trial" team, meaning they don't continue negotiations with players leading up to the hearing, so they would likely go to a hearing with those they fail to sign by today's deadline.

 

This means the Braves could face hearings with Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Mike Minor. None of the four have been announced as signings today.

 

The last time the Braves faced an arbitration hearing was 2001 with John Rocker. However, while it's a bit of a cold process to leave negotiations up to an arbitrator, baseball is a business and it happens.

 

MLBTradeRumors.com's arbitration projections predict $7.25 million for Kimbrel, $4.9 million for Freeman, $4.5 million for Heyward and $3.5 million for Minor. The projection system was nearly exact on the three Braves who signed.

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