Braves sign slugger Jason Heyward to two-year deal

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Atlanta, GA, United States (4E Sports) – The Atlanta Braves and Jason Heyward avoided salary arbitration after the outfielder agreed to a two-year deal.

Financial terms were not disclosed, though several media outlets reported that the contract is worth $13.3 million.

“Jason is an important part of our organization and we’re glad that we were able to agree on a multiyear contract,” Braves executive vice president and general manager Frank Wren said.

The 24-year-old Heyward posted a .254 batting average with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs in 104 games for the Braves in 2013, his fourth season in the Majors. He batted .333 over his final 31 games of the season, including .322 in 29 games from the leadoff spot.

Heyward twice went on the disabled list, as he underwent appendectomy surgery in late April and then sustained a fractured jaw when he was hit by a pitch in late August. The DL stints cost him a total of 49 games.

“I think in Jason’s case, [a two-year deal] is probably a good thing,” Wren said. “Last year was such a tough year for him physically, through no fault of his own, with the appendectomy and getting hit in the face.”

“So it also made it tough for both sides in an arbitration situation. It made it hard to pin a number when comparing to players who played a lot more or a lot less,” he added.

A 2012 National League Gold Glove Award winner, Heyward was the Braves’ top Draft pick (14th overall) in 2007 and made his Major League debut in 2010. He has played in 532 career games, with a .259 batting average, 73 homers and 234 RBIs.

With Heyward signed, the Braves have two remaining players on their 40-man roster in the arbitration process for the upcoming season: right-handed pitcher Craig Kimbrel and first baseman Freddie Freeman.

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