The Atlanta Braves have agreed to terms with outfielder Ender Inciarte on a five-year contract, thus avoiding salary arbitration. The contract runs through the 2021 season and includes a club option for the 2022 campaign.
The $30.525 million contract includes a $3.5 million signing bonus and a $1.025 million buyout in year six, according to a person familiar with the deal.
“We feel that he's the best defensive center fielder in baseball and one of the best leadoff hitters in the game,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “Ender brings so much to our club, on and off the field, and we are happy to have him under club control for at least the next six years."
Inciarte, who turned 26 in October, was acquired by the Braves in a December 2015 trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He owns a .292 career batting average in 381 games, with 212 runs scored and 56 stolen bases.
“I am very excited to be part of this great organization for the next 5 years hopefully more,” Inciarte said. “Words can't express how I feel.”
In his first season with the Braves in 2016, Inciarte captured the National League Gold Glove Award as the top defensive center fielder in the league. Despite missing 26 games early in the season due to a left hamstring strain, he scored a career-high 85 runs and compiled 34 extra-base hits.