Braves sign Austin Riley to 10-year extension

The Braves announced they signed the star third baseman austin riley to a ten-year, $212 million contract extension. Riley will earn $15 million next season, $21 million in 2024, then $22 million annually through 2032. The deal also includes a club option for 2033 valued at $20 million. Riley is a client of ALIGND Sports Agency.

It’s a surprising and unexpected development that maintains a long-term franchise mainstay. The deal buys the 25-year-old’s final three seasons of arbitration eligibility and extends the club’s window of control to eight years. He locks him up in Atlanta for virtually the entirety of his prime, as Riley won’t hit free agency until after his 35-year-old campaign at the earliest.

A former first-round supplemental pick, Riley quickly became one of the organization’s top prospects. He came to the majors shortly after his 22nd birthday in 2019. Riley had ups and downs during the first two seasons of his major league career, particularly when he struck out in more than 36% of his plate appearances as a rookie. . However, Atlanta stuck with him despite that early inconsistency, and they’ve been rewarded since Riley broke out last year.

Riley appeared in 160 games last season, hitting 33 home runs while hitting .303/.367/.531. That marks a personal best for long balls to date, but that score won’t remain his personal best for much longer. He’s already hit 29 home runs in 436 plate appearances this season, and is hitting .301/.360/.604 overall. Riley’s pure court line hasn’t changed much from 2021 to 2022, but his slight improvement in final results comes at a time when offense across the league has slumped this year. As measured by wRC+, Riley’s offensive performance has jumped from an already excellent 35 points above average to an astonishing 63 points above average.

Among qualified hitters, only Yordan Alvarez, aaron judge, Paul Goldschmidt, rafael devers Y mike trout have a better wRC+ this season than Riley. That’s bolstered by batted-ball metrics that put Riley among the elite bats in the game. His average exit speed of 93.7 MPH is more than five MPH above the league average. His 55.9% hard contact rate is also among the best in the league, as is his 17.6% barrel rate. Simply put, few hitters hit the ball as hard as Riley does on a regular basis.

Of course, Riley’s power has never really been in question. His problem early in his career was making contact too often, but the Mississippi native has made incredible strides in that regard. After making contact on just 63% of his swings as a rookie, Riley has put the bat on the ball about 73% of the time in each of the last three seasons. That’s not great, but it’s more than enough for a player with his power output. Riley still has an aggressive approach and gets out of the strike zone quite a bit, but his excellent batted-ball results make up for what can always be a slightly lower-than-average walk rate.

Going back to the start of 2021, Riley owns a .302/.364/.560 cut in just under 1,100 plate appearances. He looks like a bona fide slugger, and the Braves are surely happy to lock him in the middle of the lineup for the next decade. Riley won a Silver Slugger Award and finished seventh in NL MVP voting last year, earning his first of what the club anticipates will be many All-Star nods this season.

The Braves have now committed to 75% of their infield long-term. atlanta signed matt olson to an eight-year, $168 million contract within days of acquiring him from the A’s in spring training. previously they had Ozzie Albyes signed affordably until 2025 (with club options for 2026 and 2027). that leaves dansby swanson as the only member of Atlanta’s infield who is out of contract for the foreseeable future, as the shortstop is set to hit free agency later this year.

Atlanta also has Ronald Acuna Jr. under contract for most of the decade, giving them a core of young position player to build around. In Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez estimate, the club’s 2023 payroll jumps to around $113 million for next season (not including arbitration-eligible player salaries). It is around $87MM for 2024 and between $60MM and $70MM for the next two years. Atlanta’s payroll for 2022, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, is a franchise record $177.7MM. That should leave them some flexibility in re-signing or replacing Swanson, particularly as key contributors like Michael Harris II, Kyle Wright, spencer strider Y Ian Anderson it won’t come to arbitration until at least 2024. It’s a strong long-term position for president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos and his staff as they look to build on last year’s World Series title and build a long-term giant.

More to come.

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