There’s a new rumor beginning to stir around the Braves, and this is another one the fans aren’t going to be happy about. According to MLB insider Jim Callis, Atlanta is reportedly exploring the possibility of moving Max Fried before his contract is up, knowing they won’t be able to afford him.
Here you go. pic.twitter.com/1g5aJhyNfn
— Parker Smith (@ParkerSmith415) December 13, 2022
Coincidentally, I actually brought up this topic this morning after reading a report that Carlos Rodon is eyeing a deal worth over $200 million this offseason.
Y’all better enjoy these last couple years of Max Fried https://t.co/qCkiyzxNvc
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) December 13, 2022
Given how recent negotiations have gone with Freddie Freeman and now Dansby Swanson, I’m highly skeptical regarding the Braves changing their ways and signing someone like Fried to a contract worth over $200 million. Frankly, I don’t blame them, either. Fried’s been unbelievably consistent for the Braves over the last few years, but doling out over $200 million for a pitcher rarely works out in the club’s favor.
I’m also not even quite sure how interested Fried is in signing a long-term deal to stay in Atlanta. He’s a Southern California kid, so it’s very possible there isn’t even a path to a contract extension between him and the Braves. However, would Alex Anthopoulos actually consider trading him right now?
I don’t see that happening, at least not going into this season. The Braves expect Spencer Strider to eventually become the ace of their staff, which is why they extended him, but that’s a lot to ask of a player entering his second season. Plus, moving Fried now would undoubtedly hinder the Braves chances of getting back to the World Series in 2023. He may never win a Cy Young award, but he’s still a top-15 pitcher in the game. Removing that kind of consistency from the rotation would make the Braves a worse team; it doesn’t really matter what they get in return.
It’s inevitable that the Braves will have another gut-wrenching decision to make regarding one of the core pieces of their team. Fried is a free agent following the 2024 season, and Alex Anthopoulos may already see the writing on the wall, especially after the recent negotiations that have taken place with Freeman and Swanson. If that’s the case, Anthopoulos has to evaluate every option, including a potential trade of the best pitcher on the roster. However, with two years remaining on his contract, I don’t see any way the Braves could justify moving Max Fried before the start of the season, unless some team comes up with an offer that Atlanta cannot refuse.
Not long after the initial report surfaced, ESPN’s Buster Olney said the Braves are not considering trading Max Fried.
The Braves are trying to win in the immediate future. To that end, they aren't entertaining a trade of their ace, Max Fried.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 13, 2022
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire