Braves, Jason Heyward reach a two-year deal avoiding arbitration

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The Braves have announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jason Heyward by agreeing to a two-year deal. Jon Heyman reports that the deal is for $13.3 million.

In addition to being a smart move — Heyward is a key player and the sides were only $300K apart based on submitted arbitration numbers — it’s a somewhat surprising one. The Braves are one of the most notable “file and trial” teams in baseball, with a heretofore strict team policy that they will not negotiate once arbitration figures are submitted. They obviously negotiated here, much to their credit.

The next question is what this means for Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel, who also face arbitration hearings. Freeman and the Braves are not as far apart as are the Braves and Kimbrel, so I’d guess that, at best, Freeman gets locked up before next week’s hearings.

Jose Altuve leads all vote-getters in All-Star balloting

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The latest update to the All-Star voting is in and it reveals that Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is the leading vote-getter in all of baseball. Altuve, on his way to his sixth All-Star appearance and fourth starting selection in a row, has has 1,572,101 votes. Altuve leads the Majors with a .342 batting average and 102 hits.

At other positions Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos has overtaken Gary Sánchez of the New York Yankees at catcher, José Abreu of the White Sox leads at first, third base is led by José Ramírez of the Indians, Manny Machado of Orioles leads at short, Boston’s J.D. Martinez paces the DHs and the Sox’ Mookie Betts, the Angels’ Mike Trout and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge round out the starters.

Vote totals: