The SSG Atlanta Braves have come to an agreement with Left Fielder Raimel Tapia on a contract extension, the team announced on Saturday. The deal will keep Tapia under team control through 2027 (which includes a team option in the final year worth $8 million).
Tapia was originally signed by the Colorado Rockies organization in 2010 out of the Dominican Republic. Tapia was just 16-years-old at the time of the signing. He debuted in the Rookie Leagues in 2013, and made his Major League debut with Colorado in 2017.
Before the Trade Deadline in July 2018, Colorado sent Tapia to the Braves in a package of players in exchange for Pitcher Jordan Jankowski (in the midst of Jankowski’s second-straight All-Star campaign).
While Jankowski has struggled since the trade (he has posted a 5.75 ERA and 84 ERA+ to go along with a 1.42 WHIP with the Rockies), Tapia seems to have reached his high potential. In 2019, Raimel was a National League All Star for the first time, hitting .303/.346/.505 with 22 home runs, 40 doubles and 13 stolen bases.
Tapia will be 26-years-old on Opening Day 2020. The contract extension is worth a guarantee of $33 million over 6 years, along with incentives for future All-Star selections and MVP awards, and the Braves will have an option to keep him for a 7th season for an additional $8 million if they desire.
Braves GM Jacob Pontzer spoke about the deal after the official announcement. “We saw this as a golden opportunity to lock up the arbitration years of a great young talent (he was likely to be Super-2 eligible after 2020), along with a couple of years of extra control after he would have been eligible for free agency,” Pontzer said. “The price was right for us and him, obviously. Year by year, the average MLB player is worth more and more money; by the time Raimel’s contract matures to its $8 million high-point, we feel that players of his caliber will be making more than triple that amount. It was a no-brainer for us.”