ATLANTA (AP) - Ozzie Albies knows he could have earned a lot more money going year to year and waiting for even greater riches in salary arbitration and free agency. The 22-year-old All-Star second baseman instead opted for financial security for his family in Curaçao.
Albies and the Braves agreed Thursday to a $35 million, seven-year contract, a deal that includes a pair of team options that could make it worth $45 million for nine seasons.
If he continues to produce at the level he did last year, Albies likely would have doubled or tripled the dollars.
"I look at it as it's not just for money," he said. "Because I'm not playing for money. I'm playing for my career. And I took it because I want my family to be safe."
The agreement announced Thursday supersedes a one-year contract signed last month that called for a $575,000 salary in the major leagues - $20,000 above the minimum.
He gets $1 million in each of the next two seasons, $3 million in 2021, $5 million in 2022 and $7 million each in 2023, '24 and '25. Atlanta has a $7 million option for 2026 with a $4 million buyout, and if that is exercised, the Braves have a $7 million option for 2027 with no buyout.
Albies knew he signed a team-friendly contract.
"I mean, I see it this way. If I left dollars on the table, I'm going to play hard to get it in four or five years, seven years," Albies said. "If I left it on the table, it's good that now I know I can get it then, coming back."
He is hitting .364 with one homer and two RBIs in 11 games this season after batting .261 with 40 doubles, 24 homers, 72 RBIs, 14 steals and 105 runs last year.
He would have been eligible for arbitration after the 2020 season and for free agency after the 2023 season.
Albies' deal came nine days after NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna Jr. agreed to a $100 million, eight-year contract.
"We're more than best friends," Albies said. "We're brothers to each other. I didn't choose this just because of him. I love everybody on the team. I love being part of the Braves and I want to be a Brave for the rest of my life."
Braves general manager Alex Anthopolous reached out to Albies' agent after finishing Acuna's agreement.
"I know he's young in his career right now but I like if we look a few years from now that he's going to be someone who leads by example day in and day out," Anthopolous said.
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