Wait, might the Rangers have won the Darvish bidding?

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We’ve heard several reports — or maybe one report repeated by a bunch of people — that the Blue Jays are the high bidder for the Yu Darvish posting fee.  But Buster Olney hears something else:

Most folks guessing/assuming Jays have won Darvish bidding. But just got off the phone with an AL exec who speculates smart $ is on Rangers.

I guess the key word is “speculates.” Those guys in the front offices are just as bored as we are all today, so they’re probably just speculatin’ on a hypothesis.  I understand. I was this close to trying to top Gleeman’s epic ketchup post from last May. Viva the offseason.

Anyway, like we said earlier, we’ll hear who wins Darvish this evening.

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.

Despite the defeat, Fried matched the $13.5 million Gerrit Cole won in 2019 as the highest decided by an arbitration panel.

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 of 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.