The Atlanta Braves extended outfielder Ender Inciarte to a long-term contract on Friday.
The sides have agreed to a five-year deal that will pay Inciarte a total of $30.525 million. He will earn a $3.5 million signing bonus before making $2 million in 2017, $4 million in 2018, $5 million in 2019, $7 million in 2020 and $8 million in 2021. The deal comes with an option for the 2022 season valued at $9 million with a $1.025 million buyout.
The team has since announced the extension.
"We are thrilled to announce an extension for Ender," GM John Coppolella said in a press release. "We feel that he's the best defensive center fielder in baseball and one of the best leadoff hitters in the game. Ender brings so much to our club, on and off the field, and we are happy to have him under club control for at least the next six years."
Locking up Inciarte now makes sense for the Braves. He's one of their better players, and in the move, they are able to buy out all of his arbitration seasons as well as at least one free agent year with the option making it two.
Inciarte was acquired by the Braves in the Shelby Miller trade with the Diamondbacks, and he immediately produced this past season.
In 578 plate appearances, he hit .291/.351/.381 with three home runs and 29 RBI in 131 games. Being a fantastic defender in center field, Inciarte was worth 3.6 Wins Above Replacment (FanGraphs), giving him a total of 9.5 in his short three-year career.
In 2017, Atlanta's outfield should be decent. They posted a 5.2 WAR on the whole last year, ranking them 20th in the Major Leagues, but the tandem of Nick Markakis, Matt Kemp and Inciarte should be at least average going foward.
FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman was the first to report the signing, and FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported the contract breakdown.