Heyward was signed for two seasons but the Braves committed long term to Freeman, hammering out an eight-year deal worth a reported $135 million dollars.
Unfortunately, that may eat into the ability to keep future free agents on the team, like closer Craig Kimbrel.
ESPN’s Buster Olney (via MLB Trade Rumors) suggests that the Braves are unlikely to be able to afford Kimbrel moving forward:
Likewise, Olney continues, the Braves are unlikely to be able to afford Craig Kimbrel in the long-term, and the Freeman contract gives the front office with “a greater foundation on which to explain to the fan base that difficult choices have to be made.”
On one hand, closers can be found with relative ease – but finding a reliever who is effective as Kimbrel will be nearly impossible. Of course, when push comes to shove you’d likely rather have Freeman locked up for the next eight seasons over Kimbrel, but losing the closer would be a hard pill to swallow.