Outfielder Ronald Acuna, Jr. of the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts are the latest young stars to sign contract extensions with their respective teams. Acuna, who was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2018, is set to sign a long-term extension that will keep the young star in Atlanta through the 2028 season. The contract, which includes two club option years, has a maximum value of $124 million spread over 10 years. The two year options are reported to be for $17 million apiece with a $10 million buyout.
The 20-year-old Acuna would not have been eligible for arbitration until after the 2021 season, and he would not have hit the free agent market until after the 2024 season. The deal, which includes this season, will give Acuna a substantial raise from the $560,000 he was slated to make this year. Acuna has started slowly this year, but hit his first home run of the season on April 1 in the Braves home opener against the Chicago Cubs.
The Bogaerts signing comes on the heels of the Red Sox finalizing a contract extension with staff ace Chris Sale. According to reports, Bogaerts and the Red Sox agreed to the structure of the contract but had to agree on some contract language that included an opt-out year for Bogaerts after the 2022 season. If the shortstop chooses to exercise the option, he will play out the last three years and $60 million of his contract. The contract also includes a $20 million vesting option for 2026 that can kick in if Bogaerts has 535 plate appearances in 2025. Should the vesting option be reached, the contract would have a total value of $140 million – not including any other award bonuses written into the contract.
Unlike the Acuna contract, Bogaerts new contract will not go into effect until next season. Bogaerts will make $12 million in 2019. After that, he will earn $20 million for every year of the contract
The Acuna and Bogaerts signings are another chapter in an early storyline of the 2019 MLB season that shows players signing extensions with their current teams. Players, and their agents, are undoubtedly noticing that the free agent market has become clogged as many players find the appetite for teams to sign high-priced free agents to be very small. With that in mind, many players are realizing that the best deal they are likely to get is with their current team.