Behold: The Brian Cashman-Theo Epstein Mutual Admiration Society

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Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein were at the same charity event on Tuesday night and they each talked about how great it is that they’re not competing head-to-head in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry anymore. Why?  Each of them are just too awesome for the other to handle!

“I was never able to totally relax because I felt like he was always lurking,” Epstein said. “He had a great sense of the marketplace.”

You know, like when he deftly assessed the marketplace for overused setup men and gave Rafael Soriano three-years and $35 million!  What say you, Brian?

“I found the Red Sox were constantly making the right choice, not the popular choice,” Cashman said.

Right choices like Carl Crawford for seven years and $142 million!  He’s dead-on about the not-popular choices, though. For example, no one likes the John Lackey deal.

Up next: a Cubs-Yankees trade that favors Chicago that causes Red Sox fans to claim vicarious victory over New York.

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.