Max Fried continues to force Braves hand toward an extension after historic outing

After setting a career high in strikeouts against Boston, has Max Fried finally done enough to force the Braves front office to push toward an extension?
Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Atlanta Braves fans have seen a plethora of dominant Max Fried outings. Most recall on his brilliant game six performance to clinch the 2021 World Series for the Braves. Although we understand the stakes were much higher in 2021, Fried's recent run of success has us wondering if this is the best we've seen from him yet.

Fried already has two complete games under his belt in 2024, and is coming off a stellar May in which he might have won NL pitcher of the month if not for the dominance from his rotation mate. However, his outing in Boston last night was arguably the best of his season, and perhaps his regular season career.

Fried makes history at Fenway

Fried set a number of records last night against the Red Sox, including reaching a career high in strikeouts with a baker's dozen. It marked the most K's by a Braves left-handed pitcher since Charlie Leibrandt in 1991. The 13 strikeouts from Fried also set the strikeout record by a National League opposing pitcher at Fenway Park. During the postgame interviews Fried would go on to say it was the best his curveball has felt all season.

The seven innings of brilliance from Fried was enough to secure the Braves victory in Boston and get the road trip off to a good start. On the season Fried sits with a 6-2 record and 2.93 ERA. His next start figures to come in the series finale against the division rival Nationals.

Will the Braves push toward an extension for Fried?

We've talked ad nauseam on this site about the possibility of a Max Fried extension. He's certainly the premier Brave that is set to hit free agency after the season. However, for as long as Braves fans have been dreaming of Fried pitching in an Atlanta uniform beyond 2024, the Braves have yet to show any inclination that said extension is on the horizon.

However, as this season has unfolded it's become more apparent than ever that keeping Max Fried in Atlanta beyond 2024 should be more imperative than it's been treated. It feels like this season is Charlie Morton's finale, and we don't know how ready Spencer Strider will be for Opening Day in 2025.

After last night's stellar outing Fried now sits at a 2.93 ERA, 3.06 xFIP, and 1.3 fWAR. Do the Braves absolutely need Max Fried to remain competitive? Does Atlanta need to get into a bidding war with 29 other teams for Fried's services? The answer to both is no, but that doesn't mean the Braves should give up on keeping Fried in Atlanta.

Many of times cold water has been thrown on the thought of Fried reaching an extension this close to free agency. It's clear the task won't be easy, but it is one worth making every effort in accomplishing. Hopefully, in the end we get more magic from Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos, and plenty more starts from Fried like the one we saw last night.

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