Max Fried’s Arbitration Round Two

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Atlanta Braves Max Fried’s arbitration hearing will be settled tomorrow. Fried and the team have gone to arbitration for the second straight year Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Does Max Fried’s Arbitration Hurt The Chances of a Long-Term Deal?

Max Fried‘s arbitration hearing ensures his salary for 2023 almost certainly more than double. Players rarely lose their hearings. Fried won his last year. Fried and the Braves are only $1.5 million apart on his salary for the upcoming season.

Despite being close on salary terms this still makes Fried signing a long-term deal dicey. Teams speak against the player in an arbitration hearing. The case the Braves against Fried must sound strange to both parties. He played an important role in helping Atlanta win its first World Series in 26 years in 2021, and last year Fried finished second in NL Cy Young voting, behind the Miami Marlins Sandy Alcantara.

Will Max Fried’s arbitration hearing make it harder for the Braves to sign him to a long term extension?

Fried spent the last two years as the ace of the Braves staff. It remains to be seen if the young pitching behind him becomes as consistent. Proven pitchers at his level are not easy to find. Losing their best pitcher, who becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2025, is more than just about Fried signing elsewhere.

Can Braves Afford to Lose Fried after Freeman, Swanson?

Fried represents the third straight season for Atlanta to sign their highest-priority player to a long-term deal. The first two times Freddie Freeman signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Dansby Swanson left to sign with the Cubs. Both times the Braves didn’t offer what either free agent wanted.

Freeman reportedly wanted an extra year, which the Braves refused to offer. Freeman left after 12 years with Atlanta. His finally winning a World Series, and being considered the heart and soul of the team, led fans to believe the Braves would not let him go.

The hurt fans felt doubled after Swanson signed a seven-year, $177 million with the Chicago Cubs. Swanson replaced Freeman as the Braves clubhouse leader. Swanson consistently came up clutch in late innings, something not easily replaced.

Now Atlanta fans may face losing a third fan favorite. The bounce teams gain winning a World Series lasts just a season or two. Fans may start to get a little restless. They will start thinking of the players they lost as being the difference between winning and coming up short.

What is Fried’s Value to Atlanta?

In two years, when Fried enters free agency, he will be 31. His salary grew from $3.5 million in 2021, to $6.85 million last year. His price only continues to go up if he has a season close to last year.

The Braves want to sign young players to long-term deals, ensuring many of their younger, healthier years are at lower cost to them. Fried is not in the position. Atlanta’s front office know pitchers at Fried’s level are not easy to find. Three Hall Of Fame pitchers helped fuel their winning the NL East for 14 straight seasons. Building a strong staff with Fried as its ace would be easier than finding a replacement for him.

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