With Aaron Nola off the board, the Braves need to extend Max Fried now

The Braves need an ace after the 2024 season. Why look elsewhere on the free agent market when Max Fried is already on the team?

Aug 26, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) throws
Aug 26, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried (54) throws / Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
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Aaron Nola is returning to the Philadelphia Phillies on a seven-year, $172 million contract. The Braves were connected with the righty this offseason and will now look elsewhere for starting pitching for the 2024 season.

Had the Braves landed Nola, the team would have had a second quality starter to pair with Spencer Strider for beyond the 2024 season.

However, considering the current starting pitching market this year and next year, the Braves should prioritize extending Max Fried rather than pursuing a different ace.

Max Fried would not be the typical Braves extension

Max Fried
The 2022 MLB All-Star Game Red Carpet Show / Jerritt Clark/GettyImages

A Max Fried extension would not be cheap. Unlike the myriad of long-term extensions Braves players have signed since 2019, none have come in the final year of the player's contract. In fact, of the seven long-term extensions, only Matt Olson and Sean Murphy were arbitration-eligible.

Fried, on the other hand, is in the final year of arbitration. The lefty is projected to earn between $14.4 million and $21.6 million in 2024.

The 29-year-old ace will likely be looking at a similar contract to the one Nola signed this offseason (or higher), considering his value in arbitration.

If the Braves secured a Max Fried extension, it would have to be for market value. The lefty would be taking home the highest AAV in Braves history and likely upwards of seven years.