It’s time for another Braves contract extension

dkb220818040 nym vs atl

The Braves are an MLB best 19-7, winners of 11 of their last 13 games, and coming off a series win against the team with the second-best record in baseball. They’ve come as advertised to begin the 2024 campaign, but what’s been so special about this early season run is they are doing it without their stars playing like stars.

Marcell Ozuna has been the team’s best offensive player, while Reynaldo Lopez has been the Braves’ best starting pitcher. Hell, I could even make the argument that the most valuable player of the first month has been A.J. Minter.

The hard-throwing lefty has blossomed into one of the best relievers in baseball over the last few years and has been critical to the Braves’ scorching hot start. Following yesterday’s game, in which he pitched a scoreless 10th inning, Minter has already tied his career high for wins in a season with five. If you do the math, he’s on an absurd pace of nearly 60 wins. Of course, that’s not going to happen, but it doesn’t change the fact that we are past due for a Minter contract extension.

The talk leading up to the season, as far as contract extensions are concerned, has been all about Max Fried. The long-time Braves ace is set to become a free agent this winter, and everyone is hoping he’ll be here for the remainder of his career, especially now with Spencer Strider going down for the season. That’s a discussion that has been going on for years and will continue to be a storyline all season, but in terms of team success, Minter has proven to be incredibly valuable, and he’s also set to become a free agent at season’s end. It shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to keep him in Atlanta long-term, a place he hopes to spend his entire career.

“I mean, obviously, who wouldn’t want to play in Atlanta,” Minter said, via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution prior to the start of the season. “Atlanta, in my opinion, right now it’s the best organization in baseball. Obviously, I would love to stay in Atlanta. Who wouldn’t? But yeah, that’s something that’s kind of out of my control at the moment.”

The Braves spent a lot of money bolstering the bullpen this past offseason, handing a three-year, $26 million contract to Joe Jimenez and a two-year, $14 million contract to Pierce Johnson. The result has been one of the best high-leverage bullpens in baseball to this point in the season, but things would look much less advantageous without Minter.

Unlike Fried, Minter feels like a prototypical Braves extension candidate. He’s a southern boy who has made it overwhelmingly evident he wants to remain with the organization. It won’t be cheap, but it’s time for the Braves to bust out the checkbook and make this happen. He’ll have no shortage of suitors if they allow him to get to free agency, which as we know, makes things much more difficult.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: