Most of the news with the Atlanta Braves lately has understandably been about the offseason. From discussions about what the Braves' rotation will look like early in the season especially after the team traded for Chris Sale to whether or not they will make another move before spring training, However, with the recent passage of the arbitration filing deadline, the prospect of an extension for Max Fried has come to the forefront once again.
Unlike in previous years, the Braves and Fried actually settled on a one year contract as opposed to going to another arbitration hearing. For some, this felt like a sign that the Braves and Fried were more on the same page than in recent years when it came to his value and made the idea of an extension all the more likely.
Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case here as Braves beat writer and altogether fantastic human Mark Bowman was quick to share his thoughts on the likelihood that the Braves keep Fried for the long-term and it sure doesn't sound great.
It looks like the Braves will lose Max Fried after the 2024 season
Now Bow will be the first one to say (and he mentioned this in his article) that he also predicted that Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson would return to the Braves and we all know how that turned out. However, Bowman is as plugged in as anybody on the Braves beat and he makes a lot of really great points regarding Fried's future in Atlanta.
Bowman correctly points out that the timing of a Fried extension right now doesn't make the most sense. The Braves will need to know if Max is completely healthy before entertaining keeping him and Fried isn't going to sign an extension right now that potentially prices in his health uncertainty.
There is also the problem of cost because good starting pitchers have been getting PAID lately. With Aaron Nola getting $172 million when he re-signed with the Phillies and Carlos Rodon, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and many others getting big money in free agency, the allure of free agency is likely going to be too much for a guy that has the resume that Fried has. The Braves have not been a team that has been comfortable committing $25-30+ million a year for several years to any pitcher as much as they probably love Fried. As a result, getting a deal together that makes much sense for either side is going to be very tough.
Does that mean that there is no hope for the Braves to keep Fried? Absolutely not. The Braves did pursue Nola this offseason after all and the Braves don't have a full rotation under contract beyond 2024. However, the timing for an extension doesn't seem great for right now and the odds continue to decrease the closer Max gets to hitting the open market.