Braves need to lock up young stars

Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward are going to start getting very expensive very soon. AP Photo/John Bazemore

Going into the 2013 season, the Washington Nationals are the favorite to repeat their 2012 first-place finish in the NL East. Despite the Nats retaining almost all their key players and the additions of Denard Span, Rafael Soriano and one William Howard Taft, the Atlanta Braves have improved as well, and are the biggest obstacle in the way of a two-peat.

The additions of B.J. and Justin Upton give the Braves an imposing long-term outfield, and with a payroll still safely on the sunny side of $100 million, it's time for the Braves to take the next step and ensure that Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman remain in town until at least the end of the decade.