The Atlanta Braves locked up center-fielder Ender Inciarte. Will Incairte’s contract prove to be a bargain?
The Atlanta Braves locked up outfielder Ender Inciarte this past week to a five-year deal with a sixth-year team option that will give the Braves the ability to keep Inciarte long term. Inciarte’s defensive ability alone would be enough to warrant this extension, factor in the torrid offensive second half that Inciarte had and his contract could be the bargain of the off-season.
Inciarte’s new contract will reportedly guarantee him 30.525 million dollars He will receive a $3.5MM signing bonus before earning $2MM in 2017, $4MM in 2018, $5MM in 2019, $7MM in 2020, and $8MM in 2021. The option is reportedly over $9MM with a $1.025MM buyout. All together this will give the Braves 6 years of control as to whether or not Ender Inciarte will stay in Atlanta.
After months of Inciarte’s name being swirled in the rumor mill it has to be a relief both for Inciarte and for Braves’ fans that Inciarte will remain in Atlanta for some time to come barring any unforeseen issues.
The contract in today’s free agent market could well become a bargain considering Inciarte’s level of talent as well as his age. Ender Inciarte just turned twenty-six years old this contract extension will give the Braves control of what should be his best seasons. It will bring some youth to the Braves outfield as well considering that Nick Markakis and Matt Kemp have more than likely seen their best seasons already.
The one issue for Ender Inciarte this past season were his early offensive struggles. Inciarte hit .227 before the All-star game, after the break Inciarte’s bat caught fire hitting .341 and pilling up 100 second half hits. Only Joey Votto and rookie sensation Trea Turner finished with more hits in the second half of the season. Meaning for the second half of the season Inciarte was one of the best hitters in baseball.
The deciding factor as to whether or not this contract will be a bargain is which offensive version will Ender Inciarte for the majority of his contract? While hot and cold streaks are inevitable it is fair to wonder if Inciarte is a .300 hitter or the .220 hitter we saw for the first half of the season?
Regardless, there is no questioning the defensive ability that Inciarte brings to center field. His ability to track the ball (See below video) and make run saving plays makes him one of the best defensive players in Major League Baseball.
Because of that barring a B.J./Melvin Upton offensive level meltdown Inciarte’s contract will prove to be a bargain and is one of the latest great moves in a rebuild that will soon bring winning baseball back to Atlanta.