The Atlanta Braves’ multi-year extension spree went one step further on Friday morning, as the team announced its six-year deal with 23-year-old starting pitcher Julio Teheran. The contract runs through the 2019 season and includes an option for the 2020 campaign.
The Teheran signing comes as part of general manager Frank Wren’s process to lock up the team’s young and talented corps: in the past two weeks, the team signed first baseman Freddie Freeman to the most lucrative contract in franchise history (eight years, $135 million) and bought out the two remaining arbitration years of outfielder Jason Heyward.
Teheran’s new deal buys out the rest of his arbitration plus one year of free agency — with an option for a second year of free agency in 2020 — and is the first long-term contract handed down to a young pitching staff including Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Alex Wood, each of whom are still in arbitration.
"He is one of the best young pitchers in the National League and one of our core of players we expect to be together for a number of years," Wren said in a statement.
Teheran, a Columbian product who entered the Braves organization as an amateur free agent in 2007, impressed in his first big league season in 2013, posting a 14-8 record with a 3.20 ERA, placing him among the best in a talented rookie class of arms that included Jose Fernandez (Marlins), Shelby Miller (Cardinals) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (Dodgers). He finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
Though Teheran entered the season as the No. 5 starter in the club’s rotation — he was even battling for that spot before Randall Delgado was traded to Arizona — he emerged as a future front-of-the-line starter for the organization. In 185 2/3 innings pitched, he registered a 3.78 K/BB ratio and finished third on the team in wins above replacement with 2.4.
Teheran, Freeman and outfielder B.J. Upton, who signed a five-year deal as a free agent last offseason, are the only three players on the active roster locked up into the 2017 season, when the franchise expects to move into its new stadium.