Brave’s biggest deadline acquisition wasn’t a trade, after all

The Atlanta Braves were big winners at the close, but their best move had nothing to do with trades at all, and more to do with locking up Austin Riley.

There’s a lot to like about the trades the Atlanta Braves made leading up to Tuesday MLB trade deadline. Not only did they make a few moves reminiscent of last year’s acquisitions that propelled them to a World Series by landing veteran pitcher Jake Odorizzi and outfielder Robbie Grossman, but they also pulled off a performance steal at the last minute when they brought in Raisel Iglesias from the angels.

But none of them was the biggest success for general manager Alex Anthopolous and the organization.

By far the biggest move and win the Braves made before the deadline was inking the third baseman Austin Riley to a whopping 10-year, $212 million deal Extension that will keep him at the club until at least 2032 when he starts next year and has a $20 million club option in 2033.

Braves: Austin Riley contract is one of the biggest wins at the close

It’s hilarious to think that there was a moment early last season when there were legitimate concerns about whether Atlanta could afford to keep Austin Riley on the roster while he struggled at the plate. Fast forward and with the World Series ring on his finger, Riley is a legitimate NL MVP contender as the Braves eye a repeat as champions.

Not only does the club keep one of its stars in the building long-term, but it also proves once again to be one of the best run organizations in sport.

After Riley was signed, the Braves have him, Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies and Matt Olson for less than $22 million a year until at least 2025 (if not longer, depending on Albies and his options). That’s well below market value for a young core who just won a World Series, apart from Olson, and doesn’t account for rising stars like Stephen Strider and Michael Harris II, both NL Rookie of the Year contenders.

Anthopolous and the Braves continue to play 4D chess while some baseball players can’t even open the checkers box. Brave’s biggest deadline acquisition wasn’t a trade, after all

John Verrall

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