Report: Braves, A.J. Minter have not discussed contract extension

MLB: JUN 07 Mets at Braves

The Braves have a couple of massive pieces to their club on the cusp of free agency in less than a year’s time.

Most notably, Max Fried is entering the final year of his contract, and there have been no reports suggesting the Braves are close to keeping him in Atlanta long-term. Most expect Fried to test free agency next winter, and if that happens, it feels as if he’s as good as gone. The Braves don’t pay sticker price for any player, just look at how they handled the situations with Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson. That’s not going to change for Max Fried, who has been the ace of Atlanta’s staff going on five years.

The other significant piece following a similar path is A.J. Minter. The Braves set-up man experienced his fair share of highs and lows early in his career but has since become one of the more dominant lefty relievers in the game. There aren’t many other arms like him in the sport, and there’s no question the Braves would like to keep him in Atlanta for many years to come. Unfortunately, just like with Max Fried, there doesn’t appear to be any traction towards a deal.

According to Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, A.J. Minter says the Braves have not approached him about an extension.

“No,” Minter said, via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I mean, obviously, who wouldn’t want to play in Atlanta? 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.

“Obviously, you’ve gotta come in here and treat it like it’s my last day. I’m gonna come in here and do everything I can for this organization, and pitch to the best of my ability and go out there and try to win a World Series. I’m going to put it into the organization’s hands (in terms of) what they want to do. Just got to go out there and show them what I’m made of.”

Just because Minter hasn’t been approached about an extension doesn’t mean one cannot happen between now and the end of the season. Braves fans have come to expect these kind of things to come out of nowhere, as Alex Anthopoulos prefers to move in silence.

Minter clearly has a desire to play in Atlanta past this season. That’s half the battle, but he also deserves to be paid like one of the top set-up men in baseball. The Braves have a lot of money committed to their bullpen after signing Pierce Johnson, Joe Jimenez, and Reynaldo Lopez to multi-year contracts this offseason. That may complicate things, but I do expect them to make an effort to keep Minter here long-term before he reaches free agency. It’s much more likely that he is in Atlanta past this season than it is Max Fried.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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