Danny Valencia is in The Best Shape of His Life

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From La Velle Neal of the Star-Tribune, reporting from Fort Myers this morning:

I headed over to the other side of the clubhouse, where Danny Valencia dresses. Get your urban dictionaries out, because Valencia wants everyone to know he’s “yoked,” this year.

He weighs about the same as he did last season but says it’s the best he’s ever felt.

“It’s night and day how I feel,” he said.“I really made a serious, conscious effort to get my body right. I feel like I can move and feel strong at the same time. “I  worked really hard,” he said, “ but I feel great., I’m a lot stronger than I’ve ever been. I’m faster than I’ve ever been.”

The proof will be in whether he can improve on that .246/.294/.383 line from last year.

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.