Braves general manager Frank Wren is drawing some praise from fans for the rash of extensions he was able to put together this winter. He's locked up Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel on long-term deals, and avoided the remainder of Jason Heyward's arbitration eligibility.
He did the same with Julio Teheran, securing the young right hander through his arbitration years and buying out one year of his free agent eligibility with a chance at another through a the team option for 2020. Joel Sherman of the New York Post supplied the full details of Teheran's new deal six-year, $32.4 million deal.
After a $1 million signing bonus, Teheran will earn $800,000 in 2014 and $1 million in 2015. Those seasons represent his pre-arbitration eligibility. Atlanta appears to have offered slightly more during those years in an effort to smooth out the total amount over the life of the six-year deal.
Typically, young players earn right around the league minimum before reaching their arbitration eligibility, as evidenced by Mike Trout's surprisingly low $510,000 salary last season.
Teheran, who turned 23 in January, will see his salary escalate in each season of what would have been his arbitration years, as expected. However, Atlanta was able to keep the first year at just $3.3 million for 2016, and $6.3 million for 2017. The arbitration portion of the deal tops out at $8 million in 2018. If Teheran can maintain the kind of production he put together in 2013, he would presumably earn larger yearly raises. David Price for example, maxed out at $14 million this year in his last season of arbitration eligibility. Price isn't necessarily a good comparison for Teheran, but he does represent something of a best-case scenario for the Braves young starter.
Atlanta's decision to secure Teheran -- and avoid the year-to-year uncertainty that would have been complicated by their file-and-trial philosophy -- is likely to be rewarded by the $11 million installment in 2019, and perhaps, the $13 million in 2020 as well. Teheran won't even be 30 years old at that point, so if he continues to baffle right-handed hitters -- and learns how to better attack lefties -- he could be a bargain throughout the life of the deal.
Even if Teheran struggles and is only capable of chewing up innings at the back-end of Atlanta's rotation, the extension only guarantees him a maximum yearly salary of $11 million -- which is right around the annual amount Scott Feldman will earn on his new deal with the Astros to serve as an innings eater.
To earn this deal, Teheran doesn't have to be the next David Price. If he's simply good, rather than spectacular, he'll be worth what the Braves have invested in him.