Atlanta Braves Extend Ronald Acuna for Eight Years at $100 Million

In the latest of the year’s big contract extensions, the Braves extended 21 year old phenom Ronald Acuna for a minimum of eight years at a guarantee of $100M.  The contract could be (and probably will be) worth $124M over ten seasons.  The contract is almost certainly a record for a player with less than a full year’s major league service time.

The contract is high risk and high reward for the Braves and all about safety for Acuna.  I don’t think it will be the last such extension we’ll see in the near future for the current crop of very young budding stars.

Acuna has guaranteed himself what constitute enormous riches for a poor kid from Venezuela who didn’t get a seven figure bonus to sign his first pro contract.  Nonetheless, it’s entirely possible Acuna is surrendering $150M in future income to get this security.  Still, I don’t see how you could consider this a bad deal for Acuna.  How much money do you really need to live extremely well?  $124M over ten years should cover it, even after the big tax hit (probably close to 50%) that comes with all the money being earned as salary.

Obviously, the Braves have to hope and pray that Acuna stays healthy and develops into his potential.  Regardless, this is a risk all but the wealthiest 12 teams will be actively seeking to take going forward, at least with respect to the few players of Acuna’s age and demonstrated talent level.

The Nationals’ Juan Soto is represented by Scott Boras and he received a $1.5M signing bonus when he signed with the Nats as a 16 year old amateur, so it’s safe to say that Soto won’t be signing an extension like this before he becomes arbitration eligible, at the earliest.  Boras stridently advises any player with Soto’s talent to become a free agent and get the ginormous contract that comes with it.  Just ask Bryce Harper.

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