Which Atlanta Braves players could be traded in 2023?
#3) Max Fried
I promise this inclusion isn’t because I think this trade will happen. In fact, the idea fills me with dismay as much as it does any other fan. However, the possibility that Max Fried could be traded deserves acknowledgment.
Until now, efforts to extend Max Fried have been unsuccessful. Though, given that his contract does not expire until the end of 2024, it could be that Alex Anthopoulos and the Atlanta Braves are waiting for a more opportune moment to seriously push for an extension. On that same token, it only gives the organization two seasons to figure something out before Fried, one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, could walk away for nothing.
Obviously, trading the NL Cy Young runner-up is not in the Braves’ immediate plans regardless of any contract situation. If the team is on pace to compete for a World Series as they rightfully expect, Max Fried will remain vital to that opportunity and will remain the ace.
Alternatively, if the Braves were to somehow find themselves severely underperforming for a slew of reasons, then the previously unthinkable could cross their minds. At the 2023 Trade Deadline, Fried would have one-and-a-half years left on his contract, which is a very decent amount of control for a pitcher of his caliber. The return that the Braves would get from shipping him away in 2023 versus 2024 could be drastically greater.
Even if the team is massively underperforming, the only scenario in which I could envision this happening is one in which the team is 100% confident in Fried’s determination to hit free agency. Given that Fried could genuinely command a contract in the range of $30 million per annum, this isn’t exactly out of the realm of possibilities. That’s why he’s on this list.
Jim Callis of MLB Network didn’t throw out this rumor on a whim. It really is possible, no matter how unlikely. Let’s just hope that for sanity’s sake that the Braves are performing as expected and this never comes to fruition.