The Atlanta Braves intend to keep their young studs for many, many years to come.
First, they signed first baseman Freddie Freeman to an eight-year, $135 million deal. Then they avoided arbitration with outfielder Jason Heyward by signing him to a $13.3 million, two-year deal. And now, they've extended ace-in-the-making Julio Teheran.
From the team's official Twitter account:
The Braves have agreed to terms with RHP Julio Teheran on a six-year contract through the 2019 season. The deal includes an option for 2020.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) February 14, 2014
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports what the contract is worth:
Source: #Braves’ six-year deal with Teheran worth $32.4M.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 14, 2014
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports added more details of the contract:
Teheran option for 2020 is for $12M with $1M buyout. #braves— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 14, 2014
In announcing the news, general manager Frank Wren had nothing but effusive praise for Teheran. From Fox Sports South:
"He's been special since the day we signed him" - #Braves GM Frank Wren on Julio Teheran— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) February 14, 2014
The 23-year-old was excellent for the Braves last year, finishing 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 170 strikeouts in 185.2 innings pitched. He did have a rocky postseason, however, giving up eight hits and six runs in 2.2 innings in his lone start against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS.
The Braves lost that game, 13-6, and eventually the series.
Before that contest, Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Adrian Gonzalez offered the following scouting report on Teheran, via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
He’s a guy, from what I’ve seen, mixes speeds well with his curveball. He’s unpredictable with what they call his slider-curveball—it’s the same pitch, he just changes speeds on it. His changeup’s pretty consistent on the outside corner. Fastball, in and out, he likes to keep it down. He’s a guy you have to wait out and make sure you get a pitch over the plate. If you chase at stuff, he’ll get you to roll over and have weak at-bats. You really have to be patient.
With Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm leaving the club via free agency, the Braves will go into this season with a young staff led by Teheran, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy, depending upon how the latter has recovered from two elbow ligament surgeries.
In general, the Braves have gotten younger as a team, as longtime catcher Brian McCann also departed. But with players like Teheran, Medlen, Minor, Heyward, Freeman and Justin Upton, among others, Atlanta should once again be one of the top teams in the National League.
And they'll hope that Teheran helps lead that youth movement right back into the postseason.