The Atlanta Braves were big winners at the trade deadline but their best move had nothing to do with trades at all but, rather, locking up Austin Riley.

There’s a lot to like about the trades the Atlanta Braves made leading up to Tuesday’s MLB Trade Deadline. Not only did they make a couple of moves reminiscent of last year’s acquisitions that fueled them to a World Series by landing veteran pitcher Jake Odorizzi and outfielder Robbie Grossman, but they pulled off a last-minute steal as they got reliever Raisel Iglesias from the Angels.

Yet, none of those were the biggest wins for general manager Alex Anthopolous and the organization.

By far the biggest move and win that the Braves scored ahead of the deadline was inking third-baseman Austin Riley to a monster 10-year, $212 million contract extension that will keep him with the club until at least 2032 as it kicks in next year and has a $20 million club option in 2033.

Braves: Austin Riley contract is one of the biggest wins at the trade deadline

It’s hilarious to think that there was a moment early last season when there were legitimate ponderings if Atlanta could afford to keep Austin Riley on the roster as he was struggling at the plate. Fast forward and, World Series ring secured on his finger, Riley is a legitimate NL MVP candidate as the Braves eye a repeat as champs.

Not only does the club keep one of their stars in the building for the long haul, though, but they also prove to once again be one of the best-run organizations in sports.

After signing Riley, the Braves now have him, Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies and Matt Olson for less than $22 million per year until at least 2025 (if not longer depending on Albies and his options). That’s well below market value for a young core that just won a World Series, save for Olson, and doesn’t account for rising stars such as Stephen Strider and Michael Harris II, both NL Rookie of the Year contenders.

Anthopolous and the Braves continue to play 4D Chess while some of baseball can’t even open the checkers box.

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