Angels discuss extensions with Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick

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Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick are both free agents after this season, but general manager Jerry Dipoto said today that the Angels have “begun to explore and will continue to explore” long-term contract extensions for their middle infield duo.

Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times classifies the talks as “preliminary discussions” and speculates that both Aybar and Kendrick would get at least $30 million over four seasons if extensions are reached.

Kendrick made $3.3 million last season while Aybar earned $3 million, but both players are in line for sizable raises via the arbitration process and four-year deals would buy out their first three seasons of free agency.

They’ve failed to develop into stars, but Aybar and Kendrick are each solidly above-average players at their positions and still under 30 years old, so four-year deals worth $30-35 million would certainly be sound investments for the Angels with relatively minimal risk.

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 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.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.