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Braves Avoid Arbitration with Jason Heyward

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ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves avoided arbitration with one of their cornerstone players on Tuesday, agreeing to a two-year deal with outfielder Jason Heyward.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports the deal is worth $13.3 million through 2015, covering Heyward’s final two arbitration eligible seasons. He will receive a $1 million signing bonus and a $4.5 million salary this season, followed by $7.8 million next year according to Heyman. Heyward can also earn incentives based on plate appearances and individual awards.

The team announced the agreement in a release, though no official financial details were disclosed.

“Jason is an important part of our organization and we’re glad that we were able to agree on a multi-year contract,” said Braves GM Frank Wren in the team release.

Heyward, 24, batted .254/.349/.427 with 14 homers and 38 RBI last season, but missed significant time due to an emergency appendectomy in April and a broken jaw in August.

His case involved one of the slimmest differences between a player and team in this year’s arbitration class. Heyward filed for $5.5 million and the Braves countered with $5.2 million, leaving just a $300,000 gap between the two parties.

Over his first four seasons with Atlanta, Heyward was an All-Star in 2010 while finishing second to Giants catcher Buster Posey for NL Rookie of the Year. In 2012, he joined the 20-20 club and captured his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award.

This leaves Atlanta with only two arbitration hearings to attend to in the coming weeks. First baseman Freddie Freeman is scheduled for a Feb. 11 date, while closer Craig Kimbrel is slated for Feb. 17.

Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. You can follow Grant on Twitter.

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