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Braves head toward arbitration with six

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ATLANTA -- Jason Heyward, Kris Medlen and Jonny Venters are set to gain significant raises as they enter their first arbitration-eligible offseason.

Heyward, Medlen, Martin Prado, Eric O'Flaherty, Venters and Cristhian Martinez are the six Braves who have filed for salary arbitration. This procedural move puts them in position to have their respective salaries for the 2013 season determined either by further negotiations or an arbitrator's ruling.

All arbitration-eligible players and their respective teams will exchange figures by Friday, with each proposing a salary for 2013.

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Negotiations to find a middle ground can continue until the hearing, but if an agreement is not reached, an arbitration panel will choose either the club's figure or the player's, nothing in between. All hearings will be scheduled between Feb. 4-20.

The Braves have not gone to an arbitration hearing with a player since winning a case against relief pitcher John Rocker in 2001, but multiple sources think Atlanta plans to be a "file and trial" club this year. This is the description given to teams that will definitely go to an arbitration hearing if an agreement is not reached before Friday's deadline to exchange figures.

The Braves have been attempting to reach a multiyear agreement with Prado, who will be eligible for free agency after this upcoming season. If Prado's salary for 2013 is determined through arbitration, he is expected to see his salary rise from $4.75 million to the $7 million range.

Heyward began living up to tremendous expectations in 2012, as he hit .269 with 27 home runs, 21 stolen bases and a .814 OPS. The 23-year-old outfielder also claimed his first Gold Glove Award. After making $565,000 this past season, he will likely gain a salary between $3 million and $3.5 million in '13.

Medlen's value soared as he posted a 0.97 ERA in the 12 starts that he made after transitioning from the bullpen. The versatile right-hander's salary is expected to rise from $490,000 to the $2 million neighborhood this year.

Venters experienced some early struggles and then posted a 1.71 ERA in 26 appearances after the All-Star break. The left-handed reliever has compiled a 2.23 ERA while making 230 appearances over the past three seasons. His salary for 2013 is expected to be approximately $1.5 million.

O'Flaherty has established himself as one of the game's top setup men. The left-handed reliever has compiled a 1.31 ERA in 131 innings over the past two years. This will be his final arbitration-eligible offseason, and his salary could rise from $2.49 million to around $4 million.

Martinez has spent the past two seasons serving as both a long and middle reliever in the Atlanta bullpen. The right-hander, who is eligible for arbitration for the first time, could see his salary rise from $491,250 to $800,000 this year.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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