The biggest loose end that the Atlanta Braves had going into spring training was the pending arbitration case between the team and Max Fried. With the roster seemingly set (with some fine details obviously still to work out), how much they were going to have to pay Fried for 2023 was an open question. The Braves had filed at $13.5 million for 2023 while Max was looking to get $15 million.
It was reported yesterday that Fried's arbitration took place on Friday and that there was going to be an announcement today of the arbitrator's decision. That decison did, indeed, come down today.
Max Fried loses arbitration with Atlanta Braves
The MLB arbitrator ruled on Saturday in favor of the Braves which means that Fried will make $13.5 million in 2023. With these rulings, it is not made public why the arbitrator arrived at the decision they did, although the $15 million Fried sought in his second to last year of arbitration is a hefty sum and well above what most experts projected Max to get in arbitration this go around.
While it is highly unlikely that the outcome of Max's hearing will result in open bad blood between the team and Fried, it could be a sign of things to come. After the 2023 season, Max will be entering his final year of arbitration and if he pitches well yet again, it would not be crazy to see him look to get paid well north of $20 million for the 2024 season. The Braves will then have to decide if they just let the arbitration process play out and try to work out a contract extension (which will inevitably be VERY expensive) with Fried or start planning for the eventuality that he will be moving on in free agency.
One thing does seem clear though, Fried, who is the Braves' MLBPA representative, does not seem like the type to give a significant hometown discount as he has gone to arbitration in two straight offseasons against the team. Now its on the Braves to see if they can keep him long-term.