Cardinals nearing minor league contract with Alex Cora

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Big news this Super Bowl Sunday. OK, not quite.

According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, the Cardinals are nearing agreement on a minor league deal with 36-year-old free agent infielder Alex Cora.

It’s not clear whether the pact will include an invitation to spring training, but Cora would be doutbful to crack St. Louis’ Opening Day roster anyway. He batted just .224/.287/.276 with zero homers and six RBI in 172 plate appearances last season and owns a dreadful .648 career OPS.

The Cardinals are likely to roll with an infield of David Freese (3B), Rafael Furcal (SS), Daniel Descalso (2B) and Lance Berkman (1B) this season, with Tyler Greene and Skip Schumaker serving as backups.

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.