Braves rumors: Fried replacement, Former Yankee breaking through, quick stop for pitcher, more

  • One pitcher made the briefest of stops in Atlanta
  • A former Yankee acquired this offseason is on the roster
  • If Max Fried doesn't get a Braves extension, replacements come with question marks
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Braves might be able to backfill Max Fried, but need to focus on development... Or, simply, lock him up!

OK, don't get me wrong here. The Atlanta Braves should be trying to secure Max Fried to a long-term extension. It's worth pushing for, and hard. He's flashed potential to be a Cy Young winner, finishing second in voting last season and fifth two years ago.

This year, he once again posted a sub-3.00 ERA and has lost just one game. Sure, his availability has been limited by injury this season, but you feel good about your chances at winning a game any time you have him on the bump. His ERA+ is 169, which would be his highest mark of any season since his 11-game sample in the Covid-shortened 2020.

But as we discussed yesterday, the Braves philosophy for team building might not be timed well with when an extension would be served. Atlanta typically gives prescient extensions so they can get talented players at a massive discount relative to what they'd receive in the open market. Identifying talent and moving quickly has been their strategy.

Unfortunately, Fried has probably outplayed a "cheap" extension. If the Braves want him for a while, it'll cost them.

But maybe some players behind him could make that sting a bit less if such a situation does come to bear?

AJ Smith-Shawver could be the next elite pitcher out of the Braves system, but there's reason to question why he wasn't brought up to help the Braves when they had significant depth issues in the rotation due to injuries.

After all, the best-case scenario wouldn't be Smith-Shawver replacing Fried, but rather, adding depth to the rotation.

Eisert looked at his low-spinning slider helps to catch hitters off guard, but he saw some issues with the pitch, particularly data that suggests problems with finger dexterity. It speaks to a definite issue for the Braves if they let Fried walk: They might not have perfect backfills in the development pipeline to come up and grab a starting role right away.

Simple solution? Get Fried locked up this offseason.

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