Braves No. 3 starter: Max Fried, LHP
Max Fried is going to be one of the bigger hot-button issues for the Braves in the 2023 offseason. He's entering the final year of club control with the club and it appears, as it has for months now, that an extension is unlikely.
As a result, there has been at least some speculation that Anthopoulos and the Braves brass might explore the possibility of a trade for the productive southpaw to avoid possibly losing him for nothing in free agency in the 2024-25 offseason.
If we're talking about the dream rotation for the Braves in the 2024 season, however, Max Fried undoubtedly has to be part of that. And if we really wanted to make this the ideal scenario for Atlanta, he would be pitching after having inked a long-term extension with the organization.
Fried missed substantial time in the 2023 season with a hamstring injury that limited him to only 14 starts on the year. When he ws on the bump, though, he remained quietly one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. He finished the regular season with a 2.55 ERA (the third time in four seasons he's had an ERA under 2.60) and WHIP of 1.13 over 77.2 innings.
Yes, Fried's lone postseason start was anything but what you'd want as he gave up six hits, four walks and three earned runs in 4.0 innings against Philadelphia, though Atlanta did combat that and pick up the win. However, when you look at the body of work for the 29-year-old lefty, he's clearly a big part of the Braves rotation and would be a major loss if he's not in 2024.