This week, MLB fans nearly choked on their lunch during an afternoon MLB Hot Stove segment, which featured analyst Jim Callis claiming we could see the Atlanta Braves trade Max Fried before the start of the 2023 season. Excuse us?
That immediately got Los Angeles Dodgers fans wondering if this was a potential option for Andrew Friedman. After all, Fried is from LA! He played ball at Harvard Westlake High School (transfer) before being drafted in the first round back in 2012.
But that "connection" is all Dodgers fans have to make this to make sense. First of all, the Braves trading an ace-caliber arm who's earning somewhere between $12-$13 million in 2023, regardless of their payroll situation, couldn't be more irresponsible from a value standpoint.
The Braves trading an ace-caliber arm to the Dodgers, one of their chief NL rivals, when LA is in dire need of rotation help, would be even more irresponsible. Are you trying to win in 2023 and 2024 or not?
Even with Fried's so called "escalating" arbitration costs, he'll cost as much as Charlie Morton does right now come 2024. It's a drop in the bucket for what Fried brings to the table. And with the game's top starting pitchers getting $35+ million per season, Fried will be a bargain as long as he remains between $12-$20 million.
The Braves are not trading Max Fried to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sorry, folks.
Additionally, even if this were on the table -- let's pretend for the sake of hypotheticals -- the Braves would need a massive return, especially since guys like Shane Bieber and Corbin Burnes would reportedly demand an "exorbitant" package.
Fried, who's younger, a left-hander, and has ample postseason experience (despite a not-so-great track record), would at least be just as valuable as those two. With the Dodgers all but officially moving forward with their young talent in an effort to usher in the next era of LA baseball while reportedly implementing financial restrictions for 2023, a trade for Fried from their side of things actually doesn't make much sense, either.
Lastly, Fried seems hell bent on testing free agency, since he's seemingly the only Brave at this point who hasn't been suckered into a lifetime team-friendly contract by Alex Anthopoulos. Would it be worth trading a haul for him, only to potentially get out-bid for his services come the offseason after the 2024 campaign?
Might as well just wait until then to pay him. The Dodgers can keep their young assets, presumably have Shohei Ohtani in the rotation, and have some more money to spend after the tax has been reset and guys like Max Muncy, Blake Treinen, Trevor Bauer, Julio Urías and Walker Buehler (or at least a combination of three of them) are off the books.