Spencer Strider’s injury is a stark reminder for Braves, others

Spencer Strider Mets

Not only is Spencer Strider‘s UCL injury a brutal blow for the Braves, but it should also be seen as a blow to baseball as a sport.

Professional leagues are best when their best players are on the field or court, regardless of your allegiances. From a competitive standpoint, none of Atlanta’s rivals are feeling sorry for them. The Braves will have to replace Strider by committee because no one pitcher can replicate his impact, relying on the starting pitching depth Alex Anthopoulos has built throughout the years.

An aspect of the injury that hasn’t been talked about is Strider’s contract, and the inherent risk associated with giving out such a large extension early into a player’s career.

Atlanta gave the 2022 Rookie of the Year runner-up a six-year, $75 million deal before his first postseason even concluded. It was met with cheers from Braves Country and jeers from the team’s rivals.

It was just another team-friendly contract for Anthopoulos and the Braves that has become synonymous with the organization, but what many people forget is the inherent risk a club takes on with any long-term deal, and Strider’s injury is a stark reminder.

Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Michael Harris II, Sean Murphy, Matt Olson, and Austin Riley have all inked what many describe as “team-friendly” contracts. What is so conveniently left out is how much risk the Braves are taking on. Injuries are a part of every sport, and regression is the name of the game in baseball. Teams have tried to replicate what the Braves have done. The difference is, to this point, every player that has inked a long-term deal in Atlanta has continued to perform at an All-Star level. The Braves are the exception, not the rule.

You don’t think Michael Soroka wished he’d have signed a six- or seven-year deal worth $60-70 million following his breakout campaign in 2019? You don’t think Spencer Strider is ecstatic that he’s already locked up $75 million guaranteed now that he’s scheduled to miss at least 12 months? The answer is an emphatic YES.

We all hope that Spencer Strider can return to full health. First and foremost, he’s one of the greatest talents this game has ever seen. Secondly, the Braves’ rotation outlook is bleak without him, and the club has tied up a considerable financial investment in Strider.

David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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