After fussing and cussing the Brave’s organization for moves not made and money foolishly spent in the past several years; note see B.J. Upton contract, I have to admit , I am loving their latest style of dealing with players and money.
Going into the offseason they were adamant about enforcing their policy on handling arbitration eligible players by NOT negotiating contracts for those players entering the arbitration process.
Then they hired former MLB analyst and former Cleveland Indians GM John Hart in December. He laid out for them his philosophy for developing a winning team. Basically it is, “If you want to concentrate on winning now AND keep an eye on the future, you have to commit to your young core players”.
Now before you choke on your beer and shout “Cleveland? What the Hell has that organization done so well”, here me out. With Hart as the GM of the Indians organization they won six of the seven possible AL division titles with two apearances in the World Series in 1995 and 1997.
And now, following his philosphy, the Braves have done exactly what he preached.
Not a single one of their young guns made it to the arbitration process. In fact, one of them was not even entering arbitration this year and Frank Wren went ahead and inked him to a long contract anyway.
To date the Braves have signed as follows:
Freddie Freeman , 8 years, $135 million
Jason Heward, 2 years, $13.3 million
Julio Teheran, 6 years, $32.4 million
Craig Kimbrel, “That’s Kimbrel with a K”, 4 year $42 million
and their latest coming yesterday, Andrelton Simmons, 7 years, $58 million
I cannot remember a season where the Braves made such an overwhelming committment to an entire core of young talent.
I still hate the fact that Hudson, O’Flaherty and McCann are donning other uni’s this season, but I am liking the committment to these other core players.
The Braves should be in good shape to content consistently for the next half decade. Even if things don’t work out as planned, I still like the committment the organization and the players made to each other.
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