2 Braves players that absolutely deserve contract extensions, 1 to avoid

The Braves have been very good about locking their players up, but there are a couple more guys that deserve it as well.

Oct 9, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) pitches during
Oct 9, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) pitches during / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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AJ Minter

Lost in all of the moves that the Braves have done to bolster their bullpen this offseason is the fact that AJ Minter has been an absolute stud out of the Atlanta bullpen for a long time now. Aside from the 2019 season where he was banged up from a car accident that spring, AJ has been basically a lock to give the Braves a 3ish ERA and 60-70 appearances every season. His performance in the postseason has been great, he misses bats, and his stuff from the left side passes the eye test.

The problem, of course, is that he is a reliever and that in itself is a challenge. Relievers are far and away the most volatile position in the game of baseball. Because of flaws in their deliveries, injuries, or simple mileage on their arms, we see bullpen arms flame out in the game of baseball every single season. As a result, you very rarely see bullpen arms get longer than three year deals because, well, teams are really tempting fate going any longer than that.

Despite all of that, Minter is a guy the Braves should look to lock up after the 2024 season. He is currently projected to make $6.5 million in arbitration this coming season and would probably require more than that per year to keep around, but a three year, $27 million extension feels about right for a guy that has been a very solid set-up guy and looks like he could stay in the role for a while.

Sure, Minter does have an arm surgery in his past and the move wouldn't be without risk, but a three year deal would mostly protect the Braves from being too invested in him while making sure this loaded Braves bullpen sticks together for a while longer.