The brave announced that they have signed the third star of Al Qaeda man Austin Riley To ten years, contract extension worth 212 million dollars. Riley will make $15 million next season, $21 million in 2024, then $22 million annually until 2032. The deal also contains a 2033 option for the club worth $20 million. Riley is a client of ALIGND Sports Agency.
It’s a stunning out-of-the-ordinary development that will sustain the franchise column for the long term. The deal gives the 25-year-old player the last three seasons of refereeing eligibility and extends the club’s window of control for up to eight years. He locked it in Atlanta for almost his entire presidency, with Riley not hitting free agency until after his campaign at age 35 at the earliest.
A former supplement pick in the first round, Riley quickly blossomed into one of the best prospects in the organization. He reached the majors not long after his 22nd birthday in 2019. Riley had his ups and downs in the first two seasons of his big football career, particularly when he came out in more than 36% of his appearances at the top. Atlanta stuck with him despite that early inconsistency, however, and they’ve been rewarded since Riley broke out last year.
He appeared in 160 matches, scoring 33 home runs with a .303/.367/.531 streak. This is his longest hit so far, but this indicator won’t remain his personal best for much longer. He’s already connected on 29 Homers in 436 board appearances this season, and he’s made .301/.360/.604 total. Riley’s pure streak didn’t change much from 2021-22, but his slight improvement in bottom line scores comes at a time when attacks have waned at the league level. On the wRC+ scale, Riley’s offensive output jumped from an already excellent 35 points above average to 63 points above average.
Among the qualified hitters, only Jordan AlvarezAnd the Aaron JudgeAnd the Paul GoldschmidtAnd the Raphael Devers And the Mike Trout You have the best WRC+ this season. This is enhanced by the ball hit metrics rather than by placing Riley among the game’s elite bats. His average exit speed of 93.7 mph is more than five miles per hour above the league average. His hard touch rate of 55.9% is also among the best in the league, as is his average of 17.6% per barrel. Simply put, few hitters hit the ball as hard as Riley often hits.
Of course, Riley’s strength was never in doubt. His problem earlier in his career was with communication, but the Mississippi native has made great strides in that regard. After making contact in only 63% of his swings as a starter, Riley has had the ball about 73% of the time in each of the last three seasons. This is not great, but it is more than enough for the player to produce his strength. Riley still has an aggressive approach and gets out of the strike zone reasonably well, but his excellent volleyball results make up for what may always be a little below average walking rate.
Back in early 2021, Riley has a 302/.364/.560 slash in just under 1,100 panel appearances. He looks like a well-meaning footballer, and the Braves would surely be happy to lock him up in the middle of the squad for the next decade. Riley was a Silver Slugger and finished seventh in last year’s NL MVP vote, taking home the first All-Star awards the club has envisioned this season.
The brave have now committed 75% of their land for the long term. Atlanta occurred Matt Olson to an eight-year deal worth $168 million within days of getting him from athletics in spring training. They had before Ozzy Albis Signed at a reasonable cost until 2025 (with club options for 2026 and 27). to leave Dansby Swanson As the only member of the Atlanta Stadium who is not under contract for the foreseeable future, the short suspension is set to hit free agency at the end of this year.
Atlanta also has Ronald Acuña Jr. Under contract for most contracts, giving them a young player position they can build around. In appreciation of Jason Martinez Menu resourceHowever, the club’s 2023 payroll jumps to around $113 million (not including the salaries of players eligible to referee). It’s about $87 million for 2024 and between $60 million and $70 million for the next two years. Atlanta’s 2022 salary schedule, according to Cot baseball contracts, is A franchise record $177.7 million. That should give them some flexibility to re-sign or replace Swanson, especially since major contributors love Michael Harris IIAnd the Kyle WrightAnd the Spencer Strider And the Ian Anderson It won’t reach arbitration until at least 2024. It’s a strong, long-term position for President of Baseball Operations Alex Antopoulos and his staff as they look to build on last year’s World Series title and build a long-term tyrant.
As ESPN’s Buster Olney points out (Twitter link), the Riley Extension drops as the largest investment in Atlanta franchise history. It’s the second largest extension ever for a player with between two and three years of MLB service, only late Fernando Tates Jr. 14 years old, $340 million. Among the other players in this service bucket, only the future Hall of Famers Mike Trout And the Buster Busy Signed deals in excess of nine figures. It’s a strong faith gesture on the part of the organization, then, but it also has the potential to be a bargain. Riley’s steady $22 million salary for what will be seven free seasons will be a very friendly character, with players often approaching his caliber or eclipsing $30 million a year in free agent deals.
This is the nature of early career extensions. Riley is sacrificing some long-term profits in a hike for guaranteed money up front, and in 2023 he’ll get a little bit more than he would have been in arbitration. Riley made his debut last winter as a Super Two player and earned $3.95 million. An MVP-caliber show could have earned him a significant increase next winter, but next year’s salary certainly wouldn’t have come close to $15 million. By paying a slightly larger amount up front, the Braves give themselves more flexibility in the long run with essentially flat salaries for the greater part of the contract thereafter.
While it’s not an outside capture, it’s highly likely that Riley’s extension will go down as the Braves’ biggest move of the Deadline season. They’ve committed to playing another young superstar to cement a long-term core that should make them permanent contenders in the NL East for years to come.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.
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