The Atlanta Braves have reached an agreement with first baseman Freddie Freeman on an eight-year contract extension to avoid arbitration.

The Braves tweeted confirmation of the news:

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports clarified the monetary amount:

News of the Freeman extension comes just hours after the Braves announced an extension for outfielder Jason Heyward. Both 24-year-old sluggers are key pieces of the Atlanta lineup, and the Braves hope these new deals are the first step toward keeping it that way for awhile.   

The Braves were a team to watch heading into arbitration hearings because they had three important players with uncertain salaries for 2014. Now, as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out, only closer Craig Kimbrel remains:

O’Brien also reports that this would be the largest deal in Braves history:

Chipper Jones weighed in on the contract:

Freeman is coming off his best offensive season to date. In his third full MLB season, the first baseman hit .319 with an on-base percentage near .400 to go along with 27 doubles and 23 home runs. He was the team’s most consistent producer at the plate, adding 109 RBI.

He was a key reason the Braves pulled away from the favored Washington Nationals in the NL East. Atlanta started hot and never let Washington back into the race, winning the division by 10 games before getting knocked out of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Heyward and Freeman are among the latest examples of Atlanta’s continued success when it comes to developing players. The franchise can’t contend in free agency with the big-market teams, so it has to build from within and has still enjoyed plenty of success.

O’Brien also provided some comments from Heyward, who said he was happy to have the contract situation sorted out so he can focus on baseball. Freeman will probably feel the same way with spring training right around the corner.

Freeman’s extension in particular shows the front office believes he can be a cornerstone offensive player—not to mention his quick glove work around the bag at first—for many years to come. 

The Nationals figure to bounce back from a frustrating season in 2014, which means the Braves can’t expect to run away with the division for a second straight season. But the future continues to get brighter with each new deal given to one of the franchise’s multiple high-upside young players.

Freeman’s development has been the steadiest of the bunch, and now Atlanta has rewarded him for it.



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