The Atlanta Braves don’t want to let one of their young, talented stars slip through their fingers. They announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed left fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. to an eight-year, $100 million contract extension.
The Atlanta #Braves today agreed to terms with OF Ronald Acuña Jr. on an eight-year contract extension through 2026 worth $100 million, with club options for the 2027 and 2028 seasons. pic.twitter.com/Rm18jswH5r— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 2, 2019
Acuña only made his debut in 2018, but the 21-year-old has dazzled and impressed in just a short time. He hit .293/.366/.552 with 26 doubles and 26 home runs over 111 games, and won the National League Rookie of the Year award.
Even with just one year in the majors, the Braves wanted to keep their young phenom under team control for as long as possible. Acuña’s deal includes two option years, which could keep him in a Braves uniform through 2028. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that if the Braves exercise those options, his total contract would be worth $124 million, giving him an average salary of just over $12 million a year. If he’s the stud many think he will be (and likely already is), that’s a low salary for a player of that caliber.
Regardless of Acuña’s salary, the extension could help soften the anger some fans are feeling toward the Braves, who had a very quiet offseason. Their biggest move was signing Josh Donaldson to a one-year contract, and they were never seriously in the running for Patrick Corbin, Bryce Harper, or Manny Machado. Fan grumbling grew even louder after the Philadelphia Phillies swept the Braves in the first three games of the season.
The extension doesn’t add anyone new, but it does keep one of the team’s most dynamic players in the fold for years to come. That won’t stop fans from grumbling if the Braves continue to struggle, but it definitely helps.
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