John Smoltz puts his odds of pitching again at 50-1

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Smoltz Braves.jpgJeff Shultz of the AJC spoke with John Smoltz today to see if he’s retiring or not.  Smoltz wouldn’t use the word, but placed his odds of pitching again at 50-1 and said “My desire to work out every day is still there.  But my desire to throw 50 to 70 times a day isn’t.” So yeah, I’d say he’s done.

While he’s probably my least favorite of the Braves’ Big Three, and certainly wasn’t the best, there’s an argument that John Smoltz was the most important in many ways.  He was traded to the Braves by the Tigers just after my allegiances had shifted from the Braves to the Tigers in 1987, so he’s obviously an important figure in my fandom as well.  Still, I don’t think I’ve yet worked out all my feelings about John Smoltz yet — his retirement, such as it is, was a bit less anticipated than Glavine’s or Maddux’s — so I’ll save the career eulogy for a spell while I think on it.

Short version: yes, Hall of Famer, but that’s not terribly interesting to me.  I’m more interested in what he meant to the Braves and their fans. What he represented in that tenuous way players can represent anything.  I’ll dive into it more when I gather my thoughts.

Max Fried loses to Braves in salary arbitration

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried lost to the Atlanta Braves in salary arbitration and 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.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year in arbitration instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal.

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 seven-year, $177 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

The last player to win hearings in consecutive years was pitcher Trevor Bauer against Cleveland in 2018 and 2019.

Fried, a 29-year-old left-hander, 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, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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