Rockies extend reliever Rafael Betancourt’s contract

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Rafael Betancourt will be a full-time closer for the first time this season at age 36 and today the veteran right-hander agreed to a contract extension with the Rockies.

Betancourt’s old contract pays $4 million this season and included a $4.25 million mutual option or $250,000 buyout for 2013, but Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the new deal converts that option into a $4.25 million guarantee and adds a $4.25 million option for 2014.

Or, put another way: Colorado exercised his 2013 option in advance and tacked on a new option for 2014, which is quite a commitment to make to a 36-year-old who hasn’t even thrived in the closer role full time yet. With that said, Betancourt has consistently been among the best setup men in baseball for the past decade and certainly showed no signs of slowing down last season, throwing 62 innings with a 2.89 ERA and 73/8 K/BB ratio while moving past Huston Street in the bullpen hierarchy.

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.