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Braves, Heyward avoid arbitration with new deal

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Jason Heyward and the Atlanta Braves came to an agreement on a new contract this morning, with a new two-year deal that rewards Heyward for his play in Atlanta thus far.

Heyward had been asking for $5.5 million per year, while the Braves had been offering $5.2 million per year going into an arbitration hearing. However, the deal that was reached will actually pay Heyward $13.3 million over two years - higher than either side's submitted figure for arbitration.

The 24-year old Heyward was doing well as the Braves' leadoff hitter this past season, until getting beaned by a pitch in August. He returned at the end of the season for the Braves' short playoff run. He ended up hitting .254 with 14 HR and 38 RBI for the season.

The Braves do still have two players left that are currently heading to arbitration hearings - IB Freddie Freeman and closer Craig Kimbrel. Those hearings may be trickier, as the gap between player and team are much wider than the gap that had existed between Heyward and the club.

With the extension, Heyward is now signed through the 2015 season, after which he shall be an unrestricted free agent.

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