Center fielder Ender Inciarte and the Atlanta Braves avoided salary arbitration today with a five-year, $30.5 million contract extension that will run through the 2021 season, per an official announcement from the club:
The Atlanta Braves announced today that they have agreed to terms with outfielder Ender Inciarte on a five-year contract, thus avoiding salary arbitration. The contract runs through the 2021 season and includes a club option for the 2022 campaign. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.
The new contract will cover Inciarte’s four arbitration years and his first year of free agency eligibility, giving the Braves one more year of team control over the 26-year-old Inciarte.
“We are thrilled to announce an extension for Ender,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said in the same statement. “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.”
Inciarte made his official announcement of the deal via his official Instagram account:
Atlanta’s 2022 option is said to be worth $9 million that includes a $1 million buyout, according to the Associated Press. Inciarte will make base salaries of $2 million in 2017, $4 million in 2018, $5 million in 2019, $7 million in 2020, and then finally $8 million in 2021.
December 8, 2015 was the date when the Braves acquired Inciarte from the Arizona Diamondbacks in-exchange for Shelby Miller and Gabe Speier. Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair also came with Inciarte to Atlanta.
Inciarte spent most of the 2016 season as the team’s leadoff hitter. In 318 at-bats while batting first, Inciarte batted .308/.372/.418 with 2 homers, 19 RBIs, and 8 stolen bases. Collectively for the season, he batted .291/.351/.381 with 3 homers, 29 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases.
On defense, Inciarte will once again see the majority of his time in center field with Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis manning the corner outfield spots. He committed just three errors in 1,044 innings in center.
[twitter-follow screen_name='tony_montalto' show_count='yes']