With the Atlanta Braves signing Sean Murphy to a six-year, $73 million deal earlier this week, it’s another reminder that Atlanta is not only continually building a core for the future but also continually establishing a franchise where players want to play.
Atlanta Braves building core, culture with contract extensions
Justin Toscano of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution made an excellent point after Murphy, acquired in a recent trade with the Oakland A’s, inked his contract extension, ensuring the Braves had their backstop of the future in place.
The Braves are coming off their fifth consecutive National League East title and are just one season removed from winning a World Series. Both the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies (the defending National League champions) have invested heavily this offseason in an effort to dethrone Atlanta. However, the Braves, with smart trades and quick contract extensions to numerous key pieces of the team, are showing that they don’t plan to vacate the top of the division any time soon.
Take a look at the some of the members of the lineup the Braves will roll out well into next decade.
Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos will not only use this core to win games, but also as a way to entice free agents in the future to come to Atlanta as well. It’s a calling card to show not only do the Braves have plenty of talent in the clubhouse, but it’s also talent that is choosing to call Truist Park home for years to come.
Consider the words of Michael Harris II after he captured the 2022 NL Rookie of the Year award.
"“A lot of different things came into it,” Harris told BBWAA writers about his decision to sign long-term with the Braves. “I mean, being in my hometown and I won’t have to worry about leaving or trying to find a place in a different city that I’m not used to. Also, knowing a lot of the players that are here that had the mindset of winning. If I wanted to stay here for a long time, I know we had the right guys to go out and try to win every year.“I feel like I made a pretty good decision. I’m just glad to be able to stay here.”"
Of course, Braves fans are well aware that not every free agent will choose to stay in Atlanta. Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson are glaring examples of that. However, in today’s MLB, team turnover from year to year is a constant. The Braves are simply trying to minimize that by locking up a talented young core with extensions that can benefit both player and franchise.
These extensions are certainly a roll of the dice as injuries or poor performance could factor into the future. However, it’s a gamble that Anthopoulos and his team are willing to make in the hopes that his Atlanta Braves continue to not only win, but also be a beacon of stability that could attract others for years to come.