Since 2019, Max Fried has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. His 15.1 fWAR in the last four seasons is 14th-best in MLB, despite the lefty missing significant time this season.
But as he enters into what could be his final season in a Braves uniform, is his production good enough for Atlanta to offer a big contract extension? Has he been so good that the team can't afford him?
3 reasons the Braves need to extend Max Fried
1. He's an ace you can't replace
Max Fried is a legitimate ace, and there are very few pitchers of his caliber on the free-agent market from year to year. Even when there are, they come at a high price tag.
Since joining the rotation full-time in 2019, he has the 14th-best fWAR in MLB and the 8th-best ERA.
Of the 13 pitchers with a higher fWAR over this five-season period, five of them have won a Cy Young Award (Justin Verlander twice, Shane Bieber, Sandy Alcantara, and Jacob deGrom).
Max Fried is the fifth-youngest player of the top-20 starting pitchers since 2019, as well, meaning that if the Braves did opt for top-tier talent that isn't named Max Fried on the free-agent market, they'd almost certainly be getting older.