Austin Riley: “It’s definitely a goal to be here my entire career.”

Braves Austin Riley

There weren’t many busier people on the planet than MLB GMs earlier this week, and Alex Anthopoulos — as always — was making deals left and right. The Braves acquired Robbie Grossman, Ehire Adrianza, Jake Odorizzi, and Raisel Iglesias before the bell rung on Tuesday at 6 PM ET. However, his best piece of work had nothing to do with the trade deadline. It was extending his MVP-caliber third baseman, Austin Riley, for ten years — a deal worth $212 million, the largest in Braves franchise history.

Riley had a case to be the NL MVP last season. He fell just short, but his recent hot streak has put him in the driver’s seat in 2022. Every penny of this deal is well deserved. As terrific as he’s been on the field, he’s been an even better role model off of it. The Braves couldn’t ask for a more humble man to take over the reins as the face of the franchise, and Riley continued to impress at his press conference before Tuesday’s game against the Phillies.

Now, we heard those words from the last face of the franchise, whose name shall not be spoken (kidding…kind of), but something about the way Riley carries himself seems much more genuine. Not that Freeman was a bad guy or anything. Riley just has this aura about him — like no matter how much money he has, it’s not going to change how he acts or what’s important to him, which must be difficult to do when you’re having the type of year he’s having.

Let’s recap Riley’s 2022 for a second. Becomes a dad, immediately turns into the hottest hitter in baseball, is named to his first All-Star Game, and now signs the largest deal in Braves franchise history.

Is the MVP next? 

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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