Braves lock up rookie center fielder Michael Harris II to eight-year contract extension

Braves lock up rookie center fielder Michael Harris II to eight-year contract extension

The Atlanta Braves have locked up another core player to a long-term extension. Outfielder Michael Harris II has signed an eight-year contract extension worth $72 million, the team announced Tuesday night. The contract also includes a two-year club option.

The extension kicks in next season and covers what would have been two pre-arbitration years, four years of arbitration as a Super Two, and two free agent years with club options for two more. The contract can max out at $102 million across 10 years. Here is the salary structure:

2023: $5 million2024: $5 million2025: $8 million2026: $8 million2027: $9 million2028: $10 million2029: $10 million2030: $12 million2031: $15 million club option ($5 million buyout)2032: $20 million club option ($5 million buyout)

Atlanta has aggressively locked up their core position players to long-term, team-friendly contracts that guarantee the player a life-changing sum of money. Harris is the fifth Braves player signed through at least 2025, joining outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., second baseman Ozzie Albies, first baseman Matt Olson, and third baseman Austin Riley.

Harris' contract is the third richest guarantee ever for a player with less than one full year of service time. Here's the list:

Wander Franco, Rays: 11 years and $182 millionRonald Acuña Jr., Braves: 8 years and $100 millionMichael Harris II, Braves: 8 years and $72 millionLuis Robert, White Sox: 6 years and $50 million (signed prior to MLB debut)Eloy Jiménez, White Sox: 6 years and $43 million (signed prior to MLB debut)

Harris, 21, entered the season as Atlanta's top prospect and was summoned to the big leagues straight from Double-A in late May. The Braves skipped him right over Triple-A and Harris has rewarded their faith with a .287/.325/.500 batting line and 12 home runs in 71 games. He is also a perfect 13 for 13 in stolen base attempts.

Beyond the offense, Harris is also an outstanding defensive center fielder. The total package has been worth 2.9 WAR in less than half a season of playing time. Harris is the favorite to be named NL Rookie of the Year at the moment, with teammate Spencer Strider his top competition.

Tuesday's win over the New York Mets (ATL 5, NYM 0) improved the Braves to 72-46 on the season. The defending World Series champs are 3 1/2 games back in the NL East, and they could soon welcome Mike Soroka back to the rotation.

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