3 teams that could steal Max Fried away from the Braves next offseason

Max Fried could very well become a free agent after the season, but where could he end up if that happens.
Apr 7, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) receives a gold
Apr 7, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) receives a gold / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 3

Beyond the moves the Atlanta Braves have made this offseason, one of the storylines that has popped up the most this offseason is the impending free agency of Max Fried. With 2024 being the last season that Fried is under contract with the team, Braves fans are understandably concerned that they stand to lose one of the best pitchers in baseball and a guy that has been instrumental to their run of success over the last six seasons.

Since Fried debuted back in 2017, he has put up a 3.03 ERA across 139 appearances with 697 strikeouts in 710 innings of work. He has finished in the top 5 of Cy Young voting twice, won three Gold Gloves, and made the All-Star team in 2022. Assuming he can stay healthy in 2024, there is a strong likelihood that he will be in contention to add even more accolades this season as well.

Right now, the prospect of an extension with the Braves doesn't look particularly good. While Fried has clearly enjoyed his time with the Braves and the team loves him, what the Braves are going to be willing to offer the 30 year old pitcher that dealt with elbow issues last year versus what the open market may give him could be an insurmountable gap even if both sides would like to figure something out. Fried's latest comments just this past week about entering his walk year didn't inspire a ton of confidence that a deal is going to get done, either.

Instead of focusing on what Fried's next deal, either with the Braves or elsewhere, could or should look like, it may be more instructive to see what other teams could be the biggest threats to steal him away from Atlanta. It is safe to say that most of the league would love to have Fried in their rotation, but here is a look at the teams that could have the ability to pay him enough AND be appealing enough as a destination to lure him away.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants' have turned into a a bit of a meme this offseason as always being the bridesmaids, but never the bride when it comes to attracting top free agents. Last offseason, they went hard after Aaron Judge only for him to use their offer as leverage to re-sign a mega deal with the Yankees and they then had to back out of a deal with Carlos Correa after his physical revealed some serious issues. San Francisco was also spurned by Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto this offseason and the Giants now find themselves in desperate need of adding a star after two offseasons of failing to do so.

While the Giants would probably prefer to add a big time bat, Fried is certainly going to be on their radar next offseason as one of the top free agents available. Their current roster doesn't exactly scream World Series contender at the moment, but what the Giants do have going for them is having very deep pockets and a willingness to reach into them. If Fried is only seeking top dollar for his services, San Francisco is going to be one of the teams can and probably would give it to him.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the Giants are on the west coast which could be appealing to Fried given his California roots. While geography is often overblown as a factor for free agents with money and winning being far more important, being closer to home could be a realistic tiebreaker if the offers he ends up getting are relatively close.