ATLANTA — It’s not the proverbial start to the season for the Atlanta Braves, but more than one player said the annual “Braves Day” gathering at Truist Park was a sign that the new season is about to begin. This could be a big deal for Max Fried: His future after the 2024 season is uncertain. The Warriors avoided arbitration on the one-year, $15 million contract they signed with Fried earlier this offseason. So far, he has not received a long-term extension like many of his teammates and seems likely to become a free agent after the 2024 World Series.
Fried understands his contract situation will be a storyline as the Braves prepare to report to spring training, but he’s only focusing on the things he can control.
“I would say I feel like a lot of things are out of my control right now. The Warriors do things a certain way. I know privacy and more behind closed doors is the way to do things. I respect that,” when asked Fried responded when asked about his lack of a long-term contract. “I know I love being here. I’m excited to start joining this group. We brought in a lot of really talented guys. The guys we had last year are still here. We didn’t accomplish what we wanted last year, but I know We have a very committed team. I’m really excited to get started.”
“I spent most of my career with the Warriors,” Fried added. “I was with the Padres for a few years and got traded to Tommy John when I was 20, and looking back now, it’s been 10 years. That’s really all I’ve ever known. The organization has been nothing but supportive to me. Fans and this city [have] It really embraced me and I really enjoyed my time here. “
If you’re familiar with Fried, you know he’s very careful with his words in interviews. Fried wasn’t as stoic as his teammate Spencer Steed, but he rarely showed much emotion.
“I don’t think it’s something he’s thinking about,” Spencer Strider said when asked how he thought Fried would handle the uncertainty. “I think he loves Atlanta and loves being in this clubhouse. Nothing has really changed for him. No matter how many years have passed, he’s still the same as he has been. Same house, same group. So no, I Don’t think it’s something that’s directly focused on him at all. I think his goals are the same as the rest of us, which is to go out, perform, win, and the rest will fall into place.”
Austin Riley is one of Fried’s oldest teammates and has played several minor-level games together. Riley echoed Stride’s statement that Fried is prepared for the noise as he enters walking season.
“He’s obviously very bright and smart. I think his purpose [for] He plays the game for the love of the game,” Riley said of Fried. “He’s very passionate about it. I don’t know if I know anyone who does more homework between games than he does.For this reason alone I think he will be able to handle the negotiations [about] Free agency and all that stuff. He’s a level-headed guy who wants to win ball games. I think that alone will take care of itself. “
Fried’s teammates believe the situation will work itself out, somehow. Even though the Warriors spent a lot of resources locking up most of their core players, they still thrived despite the departure of key players. Fried is the latest big-name player to enter a walking year without an extension, joining Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson. Still, Fried is doing his best to cut through the noise and focus on the moment and the task at hand.
“It’s very much about clichés about living in the moment, that kind of thing,” Fried said. “For me, it’s something I’ve loved doing since I was three years old. I would run around the little baseball diamond and watch my older brother play. I’ve been throwing balls for as long as I can remember. When I was on the mound, in I’m my truest, most authentic self during the game and when I’m with my teammates. For me, what I love most is just going out and competing. Baseball is my outlet for that. I really just try to simplify it because I love playing ball, I love baseball, I love competing. If I just focus on those things, everything else will fall into place.”
After an injury-plagued 2023 season in which he made just 14 starts, Fried hopes to rediscover his form on the court. Fried suffered a hamstring injury during Washington’s Opening Day game, which landed him on the 15-day injured list. In early May, he returned to the shelf with a forearm strain that sidelined him for three months. He returned in August, but developed blisters on his fingers in late September, causing him to return to Illinois to finish the season. He started in the Division Series against the Phillies, but he’s the first to admit he wasn’t at his best.
If Fried hits free agency, he’ll be one of the biggest names on the market. He and his teammates will likely be focused on getting the Braves back to the World Series, but having a great season in his walking year could get him a nice payday next winter, especially considering his Lacks the stamina to contribute in 2023. Sales contract.
“I pride myself on being able to get the ball and win games. Last year, when the team was playing on the road, I was sitting in Atlanta watching the game on TV like everyone else, and it broke my heart,” Fried said . “There’s nothing better than going out there every five days and getting the ball. I want to be able to do that every time it’s my turn. We’ve worked really hard this offseason. I’m really eager to get in there.” Spring. I just want to get started, get back on the mound and get this thing started.”
Fried said he worked all offseason to get himself physically ready. Forearm injuries are always a scary issue for pitchers, but he looked strong upon his return in August and there was never any real concern about the quality of his pitches. He has dealt with blisters throughout his career, but added that Atlanta’s training staff has done a good job of controlling the issue. All in all, he said he feels as strong as he has at any time in his career heading into 2024.
“I think the main thing is keeping my body healthy. I think I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been,” Fried said. “I’ve had some health issues in recent years. Aside from a little bit of blisters and skin issues, I’m really as strong and solid as I’ve ever been in as long as I can remember. Going into this year, I’m really excited and happy. The blisters thing is just stuck in healing On top of that, and all that stuff like that that George and the guys in the training room have prepared for me. After a year of failure and not getting as much time as I wanted, I’m excited to go into this year and put this past Wiping the slate clean, heading into the new year, staying healthy and being myself.”
Fried was part of Atlanta’s six consecutive NFC East championships. In Game 6 of the 2021 World Series, he pitched six scoreless innings. There were many great moments along the way. He’s been through a lot in Atlanta. If so, he hopes to reach the top with this group of players who are like family to him.
“When I got traded, I had a vision. It was about really focusing on winning and having a really good team to do that,” Fried said. “I’m still able to play with a lot of the guys that I played with in A-ball in 2016, some of the guys that were drafted around them. It’s really special to be able to share that with them and still be around. This situation is not It happens a lot because there’s a lot of turnover, player turnover, team changes, things like that. I’m grateful to be able to have this team and have a really solid core. I get a lot of support from those teammates, new teammates, family and everyone Support. You make the most of it and it brings out the best in you.”