MLB Rumors: Latest Max Fried update should prepare Braves fans for the worst

MLB insider Ken Rosenthal doesn't like the Atlanta Braves chances at re-signing Max Fried before next winter.

Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Two
Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Two / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried will be the No. 2 starter entering spring training this year, and barring injury will play a major role in Atlanta's 2024 success. Beyond that, however, Fried's future is up in the air.

Fried and the Braves held extension talks prior to the 2023 season. Those went nowhere, with Alex Anthopoulos hedging against overpaying a starting pitcher entering his age-30 season. Next January, Fried will turn 31 years old.

While the now-29-year-old doesn't rely heavily on his velocity, he's also coming off a season in which he suffered his first major injury. Fried missed over three months of action with a forearm strain, and struggled upon his return. While the former All-Star would recover in time for the postseason and start in the playoffs against the Phillies, he was not the same pitcher.

MLB Rumors: Max Fried unlikely to sign extension with Braves

All of this, combined with a recent assertion by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that an extension between Fried and Atlanta is unlikely, paints an ugly picture for Braves fans.

“Fried, in my opinion, is almost certain to leave as a free agent,” Rosenthal said on Foul Territory. “He’s going to be priced out of where the Braves want to be.”

This isn't a new phenomenon for Anthopoulos, who believes in his own ability to replace aging veterans with younger, cheaper talent. To be fair, he has successfully done so to this point, with Matt Olson replacing Freddie Freeman, and Orlando Arcia filling in nicely for Dansby Swanson.

The premium price on starting pitching this winter isn't a good sign for the Braves. Fried will be one of the better starters on the free-agent market next offseason, and he'd be silly to agree to an extension beforehand barring Anthopoulos doesn't meet his full value.

Fried won't leave money on the table, and the Braves have little reason to pay him over $200 million coming off an injury-riddled season.

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