Why the Atlanta Braves Should NOT Trade Max Fried
By Seth Carter
Atlanta Braves ace Max Fried has been linked to trade rumors this offseason. Here is why the Braves should most definitely not trade the left-handed ace.
The Atlanta Braves are going to trade Max Fried!?
Jim Callis of MLB.com fueled speculation when he reported he was hearing rumors about the Atlanta Braves entertaining trade offers for Max Fried.
Why would the Braves trade Max Fried?
What is the logic in trading the best pitcher on a team trying to contend right now? Alex Anthopoulos has secured a young core that should compete for championships over the next several seasons. Liberty Media plans on the Braves having a top-five payroll in 2023. So, why would they entertain trade offers for one of the best pitchers in baseball?
The logic here lies in the notion that the Braves will not be able to afford an extension for Max Fried before his contract expires. Fried is under team control for the next two seasons. Considering the Braves won’t be able to keep Fried, they would trade him now and get something out of him, in theory.
Why the Braves should NOT trade Max Fried
Getting something out of a player is relative to your perspective. It’s always good to get a return for a player before they walk, that’s especially true if a team is losing. The ultimate goal is to win.
Max Fried is one of the true studs of the game. The sort of reliability you get every five games with the lefty is a rarity in baseball. Over the past three seasons, Fried has a 2.68 ERA (59% better than the league average), with a 35-14 record. During that same time, Fried has limited opposing hitters to just two walks per nine innings and 0.6 homers every nine innings. Over the past three years, only two qualified starters have a better HR/9 rate and just five have a better BB/9 rate than Fried.
We know Fried is the king of limiting hard contact (reflected in his HR/9) but Fried is second only to Zack Wheeler in soft contact percentage among qualified starters over the past three years.
Spencer Strider will attempt to roll rookie-year momentum into his sophomore season, in which he will attempt to reach new highs in innings pitched. Charlie Morton is aging and has struggled with stretches of inconsistency. Mike Soroka is a wild card after tearing his Achilles twice. We can only hope Ian Anderson rebounds in 2023.
If you remove Max Fried from the equation, the Braves’ rotation takes a massive hit and is littered with questions. Per the usual, Fried is the stabilizing force. It gets uncomfortable when you erase Max Fried from the current list of starting pitchers.
Since the Braves can’t extend Max Fried, what should they hope to get from him?
How about two more chances at another World Championship? With the Mets and Phillies stocking up, Atlanta cannot afford to lose their ace… if they plan on competing. Trading Fried could make all this spending seem frivolous. They should be hoping for a return from Max. The return they should be hoping for is another championship, not prospects.
What are your thoughts? Should the Braves trade Max Fried? Let us know in the comments!