Yesterday afternoon, Braves All-Star third baseman, Austin Riley, signed a 10-year, $212 million dollar deal with a $20 million option for the 2033 season.
This deal is huge! Not only is Austin Riley very deserving of this deal, but it means that the Braves will have him for a significant amount, if not all, of this young slugger’s career.
Austin Riley has certainly proved himself over the past two seasons with the Braves. When he debuted in 2019, he came up with some serious spark and lots of power, but then he cooled off and slumped for most of the remainder of that season. In 2020, he was very streaky and inconsistent at the plate. However, in 2021, we saw a drastic change in Riley. His defense was impeccable, and he was hitting consistently at the plate day in and day out. The same is true of him in 2022 – except better! Austin Riley has come through big for Atlanta in stressful, demanding circumstances. He has done this both offensively and defensively.
Overall, Austin Riley is a key player on this Atlanta Braves team and it will be very comforting and exciting to watch him play third base for the Braves in these next 10 years.
While this is a very big and exciting deal that I do believe needed to get done, it has left me with some looming thoughts regarding the offseason to come.
Among others, Dansby Swanson and Max Fried will both be free agents after the 2022 season is complete. These two are both key components of this Braves team. Both were All-Stars this year alongside Austin Riley!
Fried could easily be called Mr. Consistent in the starting rotation, and Dansby has shown out defensively this year and has been a very consistent second place hitter for the Braves. It is safe to say the Atlanta Braves would not be the same without Max Fried and Dansby Swanson.
Why I bring them up concerning Austin Riley’s deal is because $212 million is a lot of money. You have to keep in mind that money can’t just appear in organizations over night to pay players. And with the Braves signing Riley to this large deal, it leaves me wondering how the Braves are going to pay players like Dansby Swanson and Max Fried who both want to be Braves for the long run.
I’m sure that Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves general manager, could give Swanson and Fried good deals for maybe three or four years, but I’m not sure if he could sign them to a long-term deal this off season. It will ultimately depend on how much money these players want and the amount of money the Braves front staff will be willing to pay.
But as of right now, I know I don’t want to worry about what could happen too much. The Braves are on a great run right now and are coming into a HUGE series with the New York Mets this weekend. And it is also comforting to know that we don’t have to worry about where Austin Riley would end up after the end of this season, because he is going to be Atlanta Braves’ third baseman for a long time.