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Freeman gets eight year deal from Braves

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The Atlanta Braves locked down another member of their young core yesterday, avoiding arbitration with 1B Freddie Freeman and making him a part of the club into the next decade.

Freeman was scheduled to go to arbitration with the Braves, but he and the club have agreed to an eight-year contract worth $135 million. It is the longest and richest contract ever awarded in Braves' history, surpassing Chipper Jones' six-year, $90 million deal signed in 2000.

Freeman is coming off the best season in his three-year career, hitting .309 with 23 HR and 109 RBI. He made his first All-Star Game as well. It was his third consecutive season with at least 20 HR.

Freeman was "humbled" by the news. "The first thing I've got to do is pay for a wedding," he said at a press conference this afternoon. "For them to believe in me with this kind of contract is truly an honor, humbling," he said. "But to happen this young, I never thought it would be even possible."

Freeman's deal comes on the heels of his teammate, Jason Heyward, also reaching a deal with the Braves to avoid arbitration. Heyward signed a two-year, $13.3 million deal yesterday afternoon.

The Braves now have just one player left that is scheduled to go to arbitration. Closer Craig Kimbrel and the Braves were more than $3 million apart in their requested amounts submitted to an arbitrator on January 17. It is unclear whether Kimbrel and the Braves will reach a deal prior to an arbitration hearing.

Spring training for the Braves will be starting in two weeks.

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