Braves pitcher Max Fried loses in arbitration but ties salary record

AP photo by John Bazemore / Max Fried pitches for the Atlanta Braves during an NL Division Series game against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies in October 2022.
AP photo by John Bazemore / Max Fried pitches for the Atlanta Braves during an NL Division Series game against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies in October 2022.

Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried lost in salary arbitration Saturday, and the 29-year-old left-hander will make $13.5 million in the upcoming season instead of his $15 million request.

Mark Burstein, Fredric Horowitz and Jeanne Vonhof issued their decision a day after hearing arguments.

Despite the defeat, Fried matched the $13.5 million Gerrit Cole won against the Houston Astros in 2019 as the highest salary for an MLB player decided by an arbitration panel.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year in arbitration instead of the Braves' $6.6 million proposal, and this winter he followed former Atlanta teammate Dansby Swanson in going to a hearing in consecutive years. Swanson, a shortstop, lost in 2021 and won last year, then signed a $177 million, seven-year contract with the Chicago Cubs in late December.

The most recent player to win hearings in consecutive years was pitcher Trevor Bauer against Cleveland in 2018-19.

Fried went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, finished second to Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins in National League Cy Young Award voting and was third in the NL in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urías of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2021, Fried pitched six shutout innings in Game 6 against the Astros as the Braves won their first World Series title since 1995.

The offseason is down to its final weeks, with Braves pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to North Port, Florida, on Feb. 16 for spring training, with the full squad due in camp by Feb. 21.