It's been a much-debated topic all off-season and throughout spring training, "Should the Atlanta Braves start Jason Heyward in right field on opening day?" One of the big factors for many fans, especially fans here on Talking Chop, has been the monetary aspect of starting Heyward's arbitration clock when the season starts as opposed to calling him up a couple of weeks into the season, thus delaying by a year when he is eligible for arbitration.
AJC reporter Carroll Rogers asked Braves General Manager Frank Wren almost that exact same question, and here is his answer:
A. "If we don’t think he’s fully ready to be in the big leagues, he won’t be in the big leagues. If he’s fully ready, he will be. It’s really a somewhat simple equation. But there’s subjectivity based on all the baseball experience we have on our coaching staff and our front office as to what’s the best thing for him."
Q. That sounds like to me like it leaves finances out of it.
A. "It hasn’t come up as a part of the equation."
I'm surprised that "it hasn't come up." I mean, it really hasn't come up once? When a team like the Braves have such a tight financial margin surely something as impactful as an extra year of arbitration for a player who seems destined to have many large paydays ahead of him is not only something a team should discuss, but something that could (and in some cases should) steer the direction a team takes with that player.
Could this just be an answer that is not well thought through, and given on the fly? Really, really? If it is indeed a genuine answer and the Braves have honestly not discussed this, then they need to.
Don't get me wrong, I'm on the side of starting Heyward in the majors, especially after the spring he's had, but I also fully expect the GM and the organization to do their due diligence and explore every scenario. I must say, from everything I've been reading the past few weeks, it certainly seems as though the Braves will start the season with Heyward in right field. Maybe in the long-run that's the better financial decision.