Dodgers Linked to All-Star Pitcher Projected to Sign $195 Million Deal

dave roberts

Getty The Dodgers just remade manager Dave Roberts' rotation for 2024. Could Max Fried be their next big acquisition?

The Los Angeles Dodgers just dropped more than $1 billion on player salaries ahead of the 2024 season. Their big spending may be done for now, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what they might do next winter. Could current Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried be a legitimate target?

It’s possible, according to Eric Cole of FanSided’s House That Hank Built. “The argument for why the Dodgers could be a threat to sign Fried is a simple one: they are loaded, they are incredibly good, and they can’t afford to take their foot off the gas with the moves they have made,” he said.

The left-handed hurler will make $15 million in 2024 with the Braves, per Spotrac. As for what his next contract could potentially look like, The Athletic’s Tim Britton crunched some numbers. His current projection is for seven years and $195 million.

Fried Is Just About Guaranteed to Hit Free Agency

The Braves have built a reputation on a couple of things in recent years. One is that they’ve won a lot of baseball games. Atlanta has captured the National League East title every year since 2018. It’s included four seasons of 90-plus victories (two years of 100-plus) and a World Series title in 2021.

The second thing they’ve been good at is agreeing to team-friendly extensions with important core players. ESPN’s Jeff Passan gave us a glimpse of this after they agreed to a contract extension with catcher Sean Murphy in December 2022:

It’s worth noting that Vaughn Grissom is no longer with the club. Atlanta traded him this offseason to the Boston Red Sox for starting pitcher Chris Sale, who promptly signed an extension.

If the Braves wanted to keep Fried with the organization for the long haul, they probably would’ve found a middle ground on an extension by now. Of course, that doesn’t mean both sides still can’t make progress toward a deal before November. It just seems unlikely.

Fried has been as solid as they come since 2020. He’s started 83 games during this span, which has led to him racking up 484.2 innings. The southpaw has posted a 43-15 record with a 2.66 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 458 strikeouts.

Could the Dodgers Actually Pull This Off?

The Dodgers spent a ton of money to improve a team that’s won at least 100 regular-season games each of the last three seasons. A significant chunk of this money has been spent on the starting rotation.

Japanese hurler Yoshinobu Yamamoto signed the richest contract ever for a pitcher. Unless he exercises an opt-out, he’s slated to earn $325 million over the next 12 years. After acquiring Tyler Glasnow via trade, the Dodgers signed him to a five-year, $136.5 million extension. Clayton Kershaw won’t be fully healthy until the summer, but he signed an incentive-heavy two-year, $10 million deal to return to the only club he’s ever pitched for. Left-hander James Paxton also joined the fun and will earn $7 million on a one-year contract.

And then there’s that Ohtani guy. He won’t pitch in 2024 as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery, but the $700 million man is expected to return to the rotation in 2025.

The club will have some decent rotation depth once Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin return from the injured list. But then again, not many (if any) could’ve predicted what they just did this past offseason. It wouldn’t be shocking to see them continue pushing the envelope with more big-time acquisitions next winter. Especially if the Dodgers fall short of a World Series title in 2024.

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