DONE: Atlanta Braves have successfully re-signed a top-tier pitcher from the league….

The Atlanta Braves face a significant decision regarding their starting pitching lineup. Historically, the team has struggled to retain its star players, with notable departures like Freddie Freeman to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dansby Swanson to the Chicago Cubs. As another star, Max Fried, approaches free agency after the 2024 season, the Braves find themselves at a crucial juncture.

Fried, the team’s ace pitcher, recently agreed to a $15 million contract for the upcoming season through arbitration. With a stellar track record boasting a career record of 62-26 and a 3.03 ERA, Fried’s value to the team is undeniable. Last season, he maintained an impressive 8-1 record with a 2.55 ERA, further solidifying his importance to the Braves.

Speculation arises regarding the cost of retaining Fried in free agency, with comparisons drawn to recent contracts like Aaron Nola’s seven-year, $172 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Given Fried’s similar status as an ace pitcher and his age, a comparable annual average value (AAV) is expected.

However, Fried’s West Coast roots add another layer of complexity to the decision-making process. Born in Santa Monica, California, and having played high school baseball in North Hollywood, Fried may be inclined to return to the West Coast. Teams like the Dodgers, Angels, Giants, and Padres are likely contenders in the bidding war for his services, especially considering the financial resources available to some of these teams.

Ultimately, the decision lies with Braves’ general manager Alex Anthopoulos and his assessment of Fried’s value to the team. While the Braves have promising young pitchers like Darius Vines and Hurston Waldrup on the horizon, Fried’s proven performance over an eight-year career presents a compelling argument for retention.


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