Earlier, when I made my Braves Offseason article, I torched the Braves for their inactivity and past poor decision making. They made up for that today though by coming to new deals with their two youngest and most talented players. 1B Freddie Freeman, and OF Jayson Heyward will both be sticking around in Atlanta for a few more years.
Freeman agreed to what is reported by ESPN to be an eight-year, $125 million deal. Braves also reached terms with Heyward on a much smaller two-year, $13.3 million deal. Both players are only 24, and have both reached a point where they are considered some of the best players in the league.
Heyward has shown to struggle a little every now and then, which is why his deal wasn’t as substantial as Freeman’s. On the other hand, Freeman has already proven himself, and continues to improve. Extending Freeman through his prime, he is under contract until he is 32, for a fairly reasonable price is a brilliant move. It bares comparison to when the Cardinals did the same thing with 1B Albert Pujols, signing him to a big deal while in his prime, and letting him walk at the end of it.
Braves are in a tough spot, losing C Brian McCann and SP Tim Hudson, but these deals mean they have some time to bounce back. Unfortunately for them they also gave up a lot to bring the Upton brothers in last year, neither of which has panned out. B.J. and Justin Upton are going to hurt the Braves for a while, but at least they can make up for by having quality players like Freeman and Heyward around on a bargain.
Braves grade is upgraded to a C because of this. They are still competitors, but they will not be as good as last year. They are way to streaky of a team, and lost some of their consistency in Mcann and Hudson. It is also reasonable to predict a drop in production from 3B Chris Johnson, who benefited from an unsurd babip of over .400 last year. They will be good, but not as good as the Nationals.