Thanks to those who submitted questions via Twitter.
"What do you make of the Braves and Jason Heyward's issues over arbitration numbers? I'd hate to see him leave, bad blood or otherwise." - @JWylie15
I touched on this a bit last week, suggesting one shouldn’t look too much into it. It is fair to think that this probably dampers a possibility of an extension? Yes. But we don’t know exactly the types of talks that have gone on in Braves circles. Rumors suggest that Heyward is willing to test free agency unless the Braves make him an offer he can’t refuse. Going forward, his arbitration raises will be based partially on this seasons $ figure, so it does benefit the club to try to keep this first season as low as possible. Prior to the 2010 off-season, BJ Upton went to arbitration with the Rays over the same amount. It wasn;t the first time this will happen with a young superstar and it won’t be the last, at the end of the day baseball is a business and I’m sure Jason understands that.
Another angle to this, which is purely speculation, is that the club and Heyward were further apart than 300K, but filed a number closer to the mid-point, hoping to better their chances of winning in arbitration. This could have been the case on both sides as a negotiation tactic, making the dollar amounts appear closer than what was actually being discussed. Again, pure speculation.
"What's going to happen with Uggla? Any trade options or outright release?" - @Johnny_Seminole
"What role do your see La Stella playing this season?" - @Wdebrave
I’ll combine these questions. As we stand now, I do not see Uggla being traded and definitely don’t see an outright release. I think it comes down to how the two look during the spring. It is important to not be blinded by spring training number because of small sample sizes, quality of opponents and the like. However, if La Stella continues to show his advanced approach at the plate against MLB caliber competition and continues to improve on defense, it would be hard to see him not winning the job if Uggla were to falter. I’m very intrigued to see how this "battle" turns out, but at the moment you have to give Uggla the edge. Conversely, it is entirely possible that Tommy La Stella winds up starting more games at 2B than the soon-to-be 34-year-old this season.
"Any talk of extensions? Mac was the last, why none as of late?" - @GoBraves101905
I’m sure there have been talks behind closed doors with multiple players. The Braves had talks with Freeman and Heyward last season, so I’m almost positive the subject came up again this winter with a number of players. Just because no player has been extended, doesn’t mean the front office isn’t working extremely hard to make it happen. Remember, it takes two to tango. Also, many times extensions are announced in the upcoming weeks and in spring training, so there still is time.
I guess McCann was the last long-term extension if you don’t want to count Dan Uggla who was traded for, then extended. There really hasn’t made since to sign anyone prior to this crop. Young pitchers like Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens both broke down, and there really hasn't been any young talented position players that the team has let walk.
"If Kimbrel wins arbitration, wouldn't that mean his current free agent value is around $22.5 mil/year? Would any team pay that?" - @Brutal_Marcus
Using the 40/60/80 rule of thumb for arbitration, yeah I guess that’s what you’d get. But, 1) it’s a just model, and models don’t always apply to the extremes, 2) No, no team would pay that and 3) I think the Braves will win this one. Using the clubs offer of $6.55M, it projects out to around $16M using the old rule of thumb. This looks a lot closer to a more realistic number he might get in free agency.
"Will Freddy Garcia start another pivotal playoff game in 2014?" - @Chrisbam1