Atlanta Braves Extension Candidate: Max Fried

Extension Candidate Max Fried

Firmly planted in the number 2 spot in the Braves 2019 rotation was today’s Atlanta Braves Extension Candidate Max Fried. I’m not sure anybody expected him to step into the role quite as seamlessly as he did, but it was no doubt a happy surprise.

Max Fried’s Background

The 7th overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Padres, Fried came to the Braves in the 2014 Justin Upton trade. In exchange for one year of Upton, the Braves received Fried, Jace Peterson, Dustin Peterson and Mallex Smith. I still love Mallex and wish the Braves had him back, but the rest of the trade is just now starting to take shape with Fried’s breakout 2019. Fried was the centerpiece of that trade even though he had just undergone tommy john surgery.

While it took him some time to recover, he was able to work his way to Atlanta near the end of 2017 for his big-league debut. Working mainly in a bullpen role in 2017 and 2018, Fried jumped to the rotation full time in 2019. Needless to say, he excelled in the role and there is more to come in 2020.

The Case for Max Fried

After pitching predominantly out of the bullpen and only throwing 26 innings in 2017 and 33.2 in 2018, nobody really expected 165.2 innings in 30 starts out of Fried. His ERA in those innings was 4.02 with a 3.72 FIP. His 2.55 BB/9 was stellar and 9.4 K/9 wasn’t too bad either. Overall, he finished 2019 with 3.0 fWAR, good for 2nd among Braves pitchers behind Soroka. He has issues with blisters now and then, but it seems like you can count on him to give you 5-6 innings of 2-3 run ball almost every time.  

He relies on a nasty curveball and plus command, but his fastball and changeup are both very good pitches. He also added a slider in 2019 that will be interesting to watch progress. Fangraphs rates the slider as his most valuable pitch, if that’s the case he could be in for a monster 2020 season.

The Contract Proposal for Max Fried

The Braves will have Max Fried under contract for at least the next four seasons. Although it was a while ago, the one comparison I really like is the contract extension Madison Bumgarner received after the 2011 season. With 4 years of team control left, Bumgarner had just pitched over 200 innings in his first full season with the Giants. Bumgarner spent half the season in the big league in 2010 after debuting in 2009. The biggest difference was age; Bumgarner was 20 at the time, Fried is currently 25. Bumgarner received a 5-year deal worth $35M with 2 $12M club options. Both options were exercised and the total deal was 7/$59M.

For Fried I propose a 5-year deal worth $40M with 2 $15M club options. A rough estimate would be Fried makes $25-30M during his 3 arbitration years, so this contract gives him a guaranteed 40 million in exchange for at least one year of control. If he continues to build on his 2019 success, the 2 options will be picked up and he will receive $70M over 7 years. He could then become a free agent at age 32 and be in prime position for a big contract.

This looks like a win for both sides as Soroka and Fried will headline the braves rotation for years to come. Here’s to hoping some of these extensions will work out and there’s more “years to come” than just the remaining club control years. Thanks for reading!

Enjoyed this piece about Extension Candidate Max Fried? Check out Extension Candidate Brian Snitker.

Author: Matt P

Hello, I’m Matt Pocza! I am a 3rd year finance student at the University of Florida and I love the Atlanta Braves. I’ve played baseball my entire life, and I am a submarine pitcher for the club team at Florida. I also enjoy scuba diving, football and business. Follow me on twitter @braves_rumors!

33 thoughts on “Atlanta Braves Extension Candidate: Max Fried”

  1. JC’d from the previous thread:

    Luis Robert signs 6 year “extension” with White Sox for $50M. While he has yet to play in the majors, his contract from signing as a Cuban immigrant was granting him free agency in 2025 so this actually buys out a couple free agent years. Given that he would be starting in the bigs with “only” 1 pre-arbitration year, this is extremely comparable to the proposal I posted about a Christian Pache extension, although it suggests I was about $3M high for each of the buyout years. So, my new Pache proposal is $89.5M over 9 years.

    Original proposal here: https://bravesjournal.us/2019/12/22/atlanta-braves-extension-candidates-cristian-pache/

  2. Fried seems more of an injury concern to me than Soroka because he is smaller and has a more whip-like throwing motion. Of course, he already has the one Tommy John on his resume as well. I would prefer going year to year with him for a couple more seasons just in case. Besides, it is rarely good practice to sign long extensions with pitchers.

  3. Matt P…

    Which came first – the scuba diving or the submarine pitching? Clearly there has to be some heavy stuff going on here, a shrink or two might be an idea. It would be a good plan to cut off at the pass any further examples of your affinity to all things wet.

  4. Max Fried is not to be sold short. It remains a very real possibility he will take over Soroka’s No. 1 spot in the rotation at some time – we should have a much better idea this fall. He will have a poor performance to spur him on – his less than stellar attempt to stem the tide in Game 5. It was the perfect spot for a breakout from him, he just couldn’t do it at that moment. But it’s there, it’s there.

  5. Ryan/Matt…

    Don’t be, just a bit of fun…I have the sort of warped mind which when it sees personal info about somebody new on the blog and that info includes the fact he excels at both submarine pitching and scuba diving, bells go off in my head and, yes, it’s funny. Common likes, in this case water.

    Got it?

    And Matt, forgive me, I forgot to give you my own welcome to the blog and to thank you for your contributions.

  6. of course it just occurs that you could take it a stage further by supposing the two skills should be combined and he thus be able to use his scuba expertise to pitch from under the water.

  7. @blazon, I never really put the two together, but that’s pretty funny!

    @2 I agree the injury risk is there, but seeing how much pitchers are getting in free agency it may become more common signing them to extensions.

  8. Clarity, blazon! Now I see what you’re swimming in.

    @snowshine
    Like the idea! Maybe extend Pache in the offseason?

  9. I feel like Fried is a big enough injury risk that they should just go year to year with him as well. If, God forbid, he hurts his elbow again, then the Braves will be on the hook with probably nothing to show for it. (See Medlen, Kris and Beachy, Brandon)

  10. Yes, I try consistently to refer to Fried as Varsity, but when space is at a premium I just call him Pie.

  11. Breaking news from a random dude on the Twitter:

  12. you’d have to assume they’d pivot to SP or LF. Lots of solid options and with Riley as the centerpiece they’re probably all within reach. I’d like to see Marte, Haniger or Merrifield personally. Not overwhelmed by any of the pitching that’s rumored to be available, Id only trade for a legit #1 or #2 starter at this point. Still need to see what you have with Folty, Newk, Anderson, Wright, Wilson, Touki, and more

  13. Of course if we have JD for the next four years, it makes sense to include Riley in trade talks. But Riley is not automatically expendable. I’d be happy to hang onto Riley, both as insurance for a Donaldson injury and also as a left field option. I’m as excited about Waters and Pache as they next guy, but neither is a sure thing.

  14. I love the new format. What’s not to like about Mac’s Place now? It’s easy to use, the writing’s excellent and I agree with most everything.

    Sign JD, extend Freddie, Soroka, Freed, heck even Pache. Flip Austin for Marte and call it a hot stove.

    2020 looks good. Happy New year to all.

  15. Alex…

    forgive my confusion on baseball terminology at various levels over here…is your Varsity for Fried a compliment or a downer?

  16. @coop

    Your constant positivity is always appreciated! If I hear you complain, I’ll know I’ve really screwed up.

    On Riley, his first showcase in the bigs is enough for him to carry significant value in a trade. I’d be fine with him as the big piece in a blockbuster or fine with him getting another strong look in the OF.

  17. The New York Mets are a beautiful and precious gift.

    Citing multiple sources, the newspaper reported that Cespedes caught a wild boar in one of several traps he sets up at his ranch to keep the animals away from people. In this case, the boar was taken out of the trap and “either charged toward Cespedes or startled him,” per the Post, causing him to step into a hole and fracture the ankle.

    https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28417760/report-wild-boar-yoenis-cespedes-ankle-injury

  18. @AAR

    I saw that earlier and now it makes total sense why he renegotiated his contract to receive less money.

  19. If Donaldson signs (hooray!!) then the offseason is complete except for filling out the roster at Gwinnett. Trade no position players. Riley is a hedge against both a Donaldson/Markakis injury and a Freeman free agency. Also, Riley will fit right in if the NL does get the DH. I don’t think any of our position players are expendable right now except maybe Ender – but only when Pache is ready.

    If we trade for anything, it needs to be from pitching excess only. Even then everyone says you cannot have too much pitching in the org. Of course, what we’re going to need at the trade deadline is likely to be starting pitching. Save your bullets for then.

    BTW, love the new format.

  20. I have a question regarding the new lay out which I am enjoying much. For the first time we have the ability to ask a question or comment on someone’s post and have it appear directly under that post. Which is nice but….here’s an example of a problem that can arise.

    @ 4.19 yesterday afternoon Alex AR posted a comment on Max Fried @10
    @ 8.59 I read it and posted a question to him about it @11, using the new feature.
    @ 10.52 Alex came back on with an hilarious Cespedes link, new post @ 19. Did not answer my question because quite reasonably he saw no cause to, he did not see it was there, not what we have done here up to now.

    So my question to all is – if you had been asking that question – four and a half hours after it first appeared = in a new post, would you have used the old or the new method? Knowing Alex he is as likely to ignore a question as I am to know what Varsity means about a ML rookie. Thanks.

  21. THE Varsity is an Atlanta shrine for southerners who will eat even razor blades if they’re fried. Greasy fries, onion rings, burgers, hot dogs, even fruit pies are their forte.

  22. @Blazon

    We are experimenting with some new things, whether they stick around all depends on the people here and their opinions on the matter. We will monitor things closely as the community is priority one.

  23. Re JD, MLBTR says he has given clubs a meet this or lose me price of four years/$110 million.

    Ryan, if you can make autocorrect not guess what I’m typing, life will be perfect.

  24. Honestly, I enabled this to make sure the full commenting system was coded properly on my end. Then I forgot to disable it. That’s 100% on me.

    I can keep it enabled or go back, whatever everyone wants. I have no problem doing either.

  25. Also like the new format. Direct in-line replies to posts earlier in the chain IMO are not that useful given the nature of the conversation here. Personally, I don’t go back and review earlier posts each time I visit, I just start reading where I left off last time.

    For blazon, the Varsity is an Atlanta fast-food institution with many fried offerings (fries, onion rings, fruit pies, etc.). The “flagship” location is across I75/85 from Georgia Tech near downtown, and is a dining experience like no other.

  26. About 5 minutes after I realized I’d left the reply option on, I disabled it. This is 100% on me. It never was supposed to be live for more than a few minutes for some backend testing.

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