May 27, 2024

A national writer, Tim Britton of The Athletic, has undertaken the task of estimating the cost for the Atlanta Braves to extend the contract of left-handed ace Max Fried before the current season concludes. Britton’s analysis involved a thorough examination of 900 free-agent and extension contracts, along with statistical data leading up to and during platform years, to determine the potential compensation a player might receive from their team in a pre-free agency deal.

Jewish ace Max Fried pitches Atlanta Braves to World Series title | The  Times of Israel

Drawing comparisons to past performances, Britton identified Zack Greinke from 2016 and Cole Hamels from 2013 as the closest parallels to Fried’s pre-free agency performance, despite his injuries last year. Taking into account Fried’s anticipated performance without the injury setbacks from the previous season, Britton adjusted his calculations from the previous offseason’s proposed six-year, $144 million contract to a new projection of seven years at $195 million. This would translate to an Annual Average Value (AAV) of $27.86 million, making Fried the highest-compensated member of the roster from an AAV standpoint.

Although the Braves have historically been cautious with long-term commitments to pitchers in their 30s, Britton’s analysis suggests that Fried’s potential extension falls into a category where it makes sense for the player to pursue the deal. However, Britton notes that a potential bounce-back season in 2024 may not significantly increase Fried’s value beyond the projected extension.

The timing of Fried’s potential extension is also discussed, with Britton categorizing it as falling into a tier where it would be more beneficial for the player to proceed with the extension. However, the possibility of Fried’s market value increasing between the current spring training and the end of the season is also considered, especially if he were to achieve a Cy Young-contending performance.

Ultimately, signing Fried to an extension during spring training is seen as a higher priority for the Braves, given the potential for his market value to rise, particularly if he delivers a standout season. Both the initial article estimating the cost of an extension and Britton’s follow-up on the timing of the deal are available to subscribers of The Athletic.

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