Since the calendar turned over to February, there has not been a busier team in baseball than the Atlanta Braves. Locking several players up on contract extensions, the Braves have locked in their young core consisting of Andrelton Simmons, Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel, and Julio Teheran for the next several years. The only question remains, what will become of Jason Heyward?
The two sides managed to avoid arbitration and agreed to a two-year deal that will keep Heyward in Atlanta through the 2015 campaign. Some have wondered what the future may hold for Heyward, given that the likes of Simmons and Freeman are locked in for the next seven or eight years, respectively. Does that mean that some sort of deal for Heyward could be on the way as well?
That does appear to be the case at this point. With the Braves set to move into their new stadium, the goal is to have that young core locked up and ready to kick off the festivities in Cobb County with no lingering contract issues. This includes getting a new contract for Heyward as part of this process, at least according to those over at Talking Chop, who relay the message from MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby.
It’s very likely that we still have not seen the best that Jason Heyward has to offer the Braves. His brief time in the big leagues has been marred by injury and some inconsistency, with strong showings in 2010 and 2012, but struggling in the odd numbered years. In each of those successful seasons, he OPS’d over .800 and totaled 45 home runs while going for a combined WAR of just over 11.
The upside is obviously there for Heyward. His down years certainly have held him back from being the star that he has the potential to become, but considering factors like his health and his low BABIP in 2011 & 2013, it’s not completely on him that he’s struggled to find consistency. The fact that his struggles can be explained to a certain degree could indicate that he could find some sustained success in the near future.
Regardless of that fact, it’s very likely that Jason Heyward is going to become a member of the long-term deal club in the very near future, with a major contract for him probably coming next winter. The Braves got him on the short-term deal for now, but within a year he should be good and locked up and ready to flash that new contract at the Braves’ brand new ballpark.