Owners likely to decide on expanded playoff timing this week

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The owners are meeting in Arizona this week. It’s the last scheduled owners meeting between now and March 1. That’s significant because March 1 is the date by which it is to be decided whether the new expanded playoff system — an extra wild card in each league — will go into effect in 2012 or 2013. Sports Business Journal thinks that decision will be made this week, even if it’s not announced for a bit.

It’ll be interesting to see what they do, because there’s a clear tradeoff of money vs. convenience here. Obviously everyone wants the new playoff game sooner because it will mean dollars and excitement and a means of capitalizing on last year’s crazy last night. The problem, though, is the schedule is already made and it’s really hard to see how they’ll squeeze it in. As it is, Game 7 of the World Series would be on November 1.

My guess, based on nothing but gut: the owners will ask themselves why they should put off until next year what can be done this year and they’ll just fine a way to shoehorn the wild card games in.

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.