According to DOB, the Braves hierarchy has yet to initiate contract talks with Jay Hey and Freddie. Heyward has little incentive to sign an extension, as he’s only two years from free agency. Re-upping Freddie, a free agent after 2016, is still possible, but it won’t be easy. If it doesn’t happen this offseason, it probably won’t.
With thirtysomething mediocrities like Jhonny Peralta and Jason Vargas inking four-year deals, imagine what a 27-year-old Freeman will fetch on the open market Kris Medlen, a free agent after 2015, has to be licking his chops. So does Craig Kimbrel, a free agent in three years.
Of the current core, only Mike Minor, Andrelton and Julio Teheran are signed through 2017, when Pascual Perez Memorial Stadium is scheduled to open. Minor, like B.J. Upton, will be in the last year of his contract, while Andrelton and Julio will be two years from free agency.
The Braves have been largely averse to extensions, and for the most part it’s worked to their advantage (see Francoeur, Hanson, Jurrjens, Escobar). But it’s a risk work taking, allowing teams like the Rays to keep Evan Longoria throughout his peak years. Considering the Braves’ local TV contract, it’s a risk they must take.
If the team doesn’t make serious efforts to lock up their celebrated core, it’ll be fair to conclude that Liberty believes building a new stadium is more profitable than fielding a winning team.