David Wright doesn’t want to think of the Mets as underdogs

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Yesterday, Jeff Wilpon gave Mets players t-shirts with a “U” on them — the Underdog symbol, reflecting that no one really thinks the Mets are gonna do anything this year.

T-shirts with slogans on them don’t really do anything — I still haven’t found the beef and I am not, in fact, a pepper, despite what shirts I owned in the 1980s suggested — but they’re harmless enough. And for crying you loud, the atmosphere around the Mets has been so dreary for so long, at least someone was trying to have a little fun.  All the better that the guy trying to have the fun — Wilpon — is the boss.

But David Wright will not have any of these shenanigans:

“I don’t really like using the whole underdog thing. I don’t really like playing that card. I think it’s just a way to remind everybody in here that the outside expectations aren’t the expectations that we have for ourselves.”

Thanks for your input, Buzz Killington. I look forward to your “We believe we should win the division but, at the end of the day, we will be satisfied with whatever happens as long as we put forth a solid effort and play with integrity and dignity” t-shirts.  Those things should sell like hotcakes.

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.