Alex Anthopoulos has been steadfast in his approach when it comes to the best players on the team. He wants to extend them for as long as possible and as early as he can. It hasn’t always worked — see Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson — but I don’t expect him to stop trying as long as he’s the GM in Atlanta. This continues my series where I attempt to project the deals for the Braves next up for contract extensions. If you missed the previous parts to this series, follow the links below:
A.J. Minter Contract Extension
Minter has two years left of arbitration and is set to earn around $5 million this offseason. If he continues to pitch like he did in 2022, when he was one of the best relievers in baseball, that figure should be in the ballpark of $10 million for 2024.
Minter is coming off a season in which he posted a 2.06 ERA over 70 innings. He struck out over a third of the batters he faced and had a WHIP below one. Minter was dominant, and the Braves should be doing everything in their power to retain him for as long as possible. Perhaps they would like to see him replicate his success for more than one season before committing to him, but the sooner they get a deal done, the more likely they are to lock him in at a discounted rate.
The hard-throwing southpaw is currently 29-years-old, the same age as Edwin Diaz, who recently set the market for elite relief pitchers, signing the most lucrative deal ever for a closer with the Mets, which will pay him just below $20 million a season over the next five years.
I don’t think I have to tell you that Minter isn’t on Diaz’s level. Minter also isn’t a closer, so he won’t sniff anywhere close to $20 million per season on his next deal, but there are a number of set up men across the league earning north of $10 million annually. That’s the category where I would place Minter. If the Braves were to buy out his last couple of years of arbitration and hand him a three-year extension, I think they could get him for a bargain worth slightly less than $10 million per season.
A.J. Minter’s Contract Extension: 5 years, $48 million
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire