Breaking news: Braves will make a serious run at retaining him.

Rosenthal: Max Fried will be “priced out of where the Braves want to be.

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The Braves blew off some fireworks to end 2023, acquiring Chris Sale from the Red Sox in return for Vaughn Grissom.

It’s a trade most Braves fans seem to be fond of. Sale’s injury history is a concern, but Boston is paying most of his 2024 salary and the rest of the money is deferred. Plus, the Braves have a club option they can exercise on Sale if things go well that would pay him $20 million. Not a bad price at all if he can stay healthy.

However, the acquisition of Sale doesn’t ease the concerns in regards to the future of the Braves rotation. Charlie Morton is on his last leg, and Sale could be out the door with him at the end of the year. But even more importantly, Max Fried is set to become a free agent, and Ken Rosenthal doesn’t believe the Braves will make a serious run at retaining him.

“Fried, in my opinion, is almost certain to leave as a free agent,” Rosenthal said on Foul Territory. “He’s going to be priced out of where the Braves want to be.”

Based on the past, I don’t think anyone can disagree with the sentiment laid out here by Rosenthal. The Braves let one of their best players in franchise history walk over an extra year. The following offseason, they didn’t even make a competitive offer for Dansby Swanson, who signed a $177 million contract with the Cubs. Even further, the Braves have never spent more than $75.25 million on a free agent, which came back in 2012 when the club signed B.J. Upton.

With that being said, this isn’t the same Braves franchise we’ve seen in the past in terms of spending. Their luxury tax payroll going into 2024 is already at $275 million and has continued to rise year over year. Next year, that number is all the way down to $166 million. That’s a lot of cash to play with, but there will also be several holes to fill.

We also know that the Phillies had to up their offer to $172 million over seven years since the Braves made a big push for Aaron Nola this offseason. Why wouldn’t they be interested in purchasing one of their own in Fried if they were prepared to spend so much money on Nola?

Though I’m not nearly as sure as Rosenthal that Max Fried has left the building already. The Braves are in dire need of a new front-line starter and will have plenty of money to spend. But to ignore the past would be misguided. The Braves don’t pay sticker price for anything, and they won’t be able to keep Max Fried if he hits the open market.

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