ATLANTA — In minutes, Spencer Strider’s narrative went from: How effective could he be in the National League Division Series to how effective could he be in at least the 2028 season?
Braves fans woke up Monday eagerly to learn more about Strider’s health and potential availability during the NLDS. As of 9:30 a.m. ET, many of those same folks were discussing an extension that could keep the rookie sensation in Atlanta until at least the 2028 season.
Strider agreed to a six-year, $75 million deal that includes a $22 million option with a $5 million buyout for 2029. Without the extension, Strider would have been eligible for free agency after the season. 27. The 23-year-old right-hander only pitched two seasons above the college level, but his incredible rookie season gave Atlanta the confidence to make that commitment.
“My goal is always to exceed all expectations,” Strider said. “Nobody has higher aspirations or performance expectations than me. And so that way, I don’t feel any pressure. The expectation is that I outperform any contract I sign.”
While Strider was certainly pleased with the contract, the satisfaction he felt on Monday extended to the fact that it looks like he will be available to play a role during the NLDS, which begins Tuesday against the Phillies. His previously strained left oblique muscle was fine as he threw the mound on Sunday and on flat ground on Monday.
“I feel good,” Strider said. “But those decisions and everything will depend on the team, of course, and how we want to plan the series and everything. I feel good and I hope the trend will continue in this direction.
Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t ready to comment on whether Strider could be used as an opener, reliever or possibly fill both roles in a best-of-five series against the Phillies. Sunday marked the first time Strider had thrown a mound since leaving on Sept. 18 against Philadelphia.
“Everything is an option, quite honestly,” Snitker said. “We expect him to be really good because he was in the bullpen yesterday. And we’re still thinking about what’s the right thing for us and him and how to use it.
Strider burst onto the scene this year as he posted a 2.67 ERA with 202 strikeouts in 31 appearances (20 starts), becoming the first modern-era Braves rookie to have a season of 200 strikeouts. He also became the first pitcher in MLB to record 200 strikeouts and allow fewer than 100 hits.
“I’m just glad there’s some security knowing that I’ll be here with these guys in this clubhouse,” Strider said. “And get out there and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
Strider will earn $1 million each of the next two seasons and $4 million in 2025. His salary will increase to $20 million in 26, then to $22 million for the next two seasons. If his option is exercised, the deal will be worth $92 million over seven years.
Harris, Strider, Riley, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Olson are all signed through at least the 2028 season. Ozzie Albies is controllable through Season 27. Time will tell if Max Fried and Dansby Swanson are also signed. factor into the team’s long-term plans.
“They’re a tight group and they’re great young men,” Snitker said. “I think it’s even more encouraging within your organization to know that you’re going to have that core every year.”