Braves at risk of losing another fan favorite unless Alex Anthopoulos steps in

The Atlanta Braves could lose fan favorite reliever AJ Minter if Alex Anthopoulos doesn't step in soon.

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

A.J. Minter is open to a long-term extension with the Atlanta Braves. Minter, who will turn 30 years old this coming season, has played his entire big-league career in the ATL.

While coming off a down year by his standards, Minter had a 3.76 ERA in 70 appearances in 2023. The year prior, he was one of the best relief pitchers in MLB with a 2.06 ERA in 76 appearances.

The Braves are in a tough position with much of their pitching staff, Minter included. Max Fried is likely to leave in free agency, while Charlie Morton could retire. Unless Minter is willing to sign an extension that may lower his overall value long term, Alex Anthopoulos won't bite. It's important the front office keeps their finances in order ahead of next winter.

“No,” Minter told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding if he'd had extension talks. “I mean, obviously, who wouldn’t want to play in Atlanta? Atlanta, in my opinion, right now it’s the best organization in baseball. Obviously, I would love to stay in Atlanta. Who wouldn’t? But yeah, that’s something that’s kind of out of my control at the moment."

MLB Rumors: Atlanta Braves are taking a risk with AJ Minter

The good news for Minter and the Braves is that Anthopoulos has proven in the past he's willing to pay for top-tier relief talent. Just this offseason he signed Pierce Johnson and Joe Jimenez to multiyear contracts. With the rotation potentially taking a hit heading into 2025, it's as important as ever to sure up the bullpen.

Minter will earn $6.22 million in 2024, per spotrac. On the open market, he won't earn all that much more unless a rival team views him as a closer candidate. Given what Minter wants to stay in Atlanta, perhaps Anthopoulos should speak with his representation about a new deal now, rather than waiting.

“Obviously, you’ve gotta come in here and treat it like it’s my last day. I’m gonna come in here and do everything I can for this organization, and pitch to the best of my ability and go out there and try to win a World Series. I’m going to put it into the organization’s hands," Minter continued.

While Minter has the right mentality, one would hope it won't come to that.

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