Ender Inciarte, Braves agree to $30.5M, 5-year contract

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ATLANTA (AP) — Outfielder Ender Inciarte has avoided salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves, agreeing to a $30,525,000, five-year contract.

The deal, announced Friday, covers four years of arbitration eligibility and one year of free agency, and gives Atlanta a club option for 2022.

Inciarte gets a $3.5 million signing bonus payable on Jan. 15 and salaries of $2 million next year, $4 million in 2018, $5 million in 2019, $7 million in 2020 and $8 million in 2021. The Braves' 2022 option is for $9 million or a $1,025,000 buyout.

He would earn $25,000 bonuses for winning a Gold Glove or being voted League Championship Series MVP, and $50,000 for becoming an All-Star or winning World Series MVP, Comeback Player of the Year or a Silver Slugger.

With 2 years, 157 days of major league service, the 26-year-old Enciarte was eligible for arbitration for the first time. He earned his first NL Gold Glove this season.

"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 in a statement.

Atlanta acquired Inciarte from Arizona last December along with 2015 top draft pick Dansby Swanson and right-hander Aaron Blair for right-hander Shelby Miller and minor league lefty Gabe Speier.

Inciarte hit .226 before the All-Star break and .341 in the second half. He finished with 16 steals, 24 doubles, three homers and 29 RBIs.

Two Braves remain eligible for arbitration: right-hander Arodys Vizcaino and left-hander Ian Krol. Players and teams are due to swap proposed salaries on Jan. 13.

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