The move marks a departure of sorts for the Braves and GM Frank Wren, who typically go to arbitration with any player who doesn't come to terms before the filing date.
As for Heyward, the 24-year-old is coming off a 2013 season in which he batted .254/.349/.427 (111 OPS+) with 14 homers and 22 doubles in 104 games (he missed significant time with a broken jaw, the result of his being struck in the face by a pitch). For his career, Heyward owns an OPS+ of 115 across parts of four major-league seasons. In addition to upside at the plate, Heyward also boasts a plus glove in the outfield and some speed on the bases.
Heyward is slated to be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, when this new contract will expire.