This thread from Barstool Sports’ Tommy Smokes, who is a Yankees fan, made me audibly laugh last night after the Mets lost to the Padres, ending their season.
Okay guess you might lose some guys. But at least you don’t have a division rival with a championship core locked up for the next deca— pic.twitter.com/6THl8yfPUh
— Tommy Smokes (@TomScibelli) October 10, 2022
It’s funny because Mets fans had to go to bed miserable last night, only to wake up to the Braves locking up another member of their young core to a long-term contract. This morning, Spencer Strider signed a six-year extension to stay in Atlanta that comes with an option for the 2029 season.
The Braves’ strategy with their young players has been brilliant and consistent. Once the player shows they can produce, they attempt to extend them at the most affordable rate. Some fans are up in arms because the Braves keep getting away with this, but the reality is these deals come with risk for the club as well.
Michael Harris II was locked up after just 70 games. You know how many players have had a fantastic first 70 games and then fizzled out, only to never be heard from again a few years later? A lot. Spencer Strider had Tommy John surgery just a few years ago. What if he has another, and another injury after that? You think Mike Soroka would have liked to sign for $75 million guaranteed after his rookie season?
There’s a chance not all of these contracts work out, but there’s also a chance they do, and the Braves put together the first legitimate dynasty since the Yankees over two decades ago. Here’s the list of players that are under team control for the foreseeable future:
Austin Riley — 2032
Michael Harris II — 2032
Matt Olson — 2030
Spencer Strider — 2029
Ronald Acuña Jr — 2028
Vaughn Grissom — 2028
Ozzie Albies — 2027
William Contreras — 2027
Kyle Wright — 2026
That’s pretty much an entire team locked up for at least the next four seasons. The Braves do have some difficult decisions looming. Dansby Swanson is a free agent this offseason, and Max Fried and A.J. Minter are only under contract through next season. However, Alex Anthopoulos can move a lot more freely during the winter knowing he has this core locked up for years to come.
What makes the future even more exciting is payroll is expected to continue to rise. Not only do I believe the Braves will do everything in their power to retain all of their core pieces, but I also expect them to be in the market for several big name free agents as well. There has never been a better time to be a fan of an Atlanta sports team, and it won’t surprise anyone if the Braves add a couple more World Series trophies to their trophy case when it’s all said and done.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire