A great Q&A with Ellis Valentine

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Jeff Pearlman sat down with former Expos star/enigma Ellis Valentine.

It’s pretty great, as Valentine opened up about being a young prospect, the turf in Montreal, how he almost became a relief pitcher at the end of his career, about working for $4.50 an hour at the Phoenix airport the year after he made $450K playing major league baseball, drugs, suicide and a bunch of other stuff.

Just a neat guy who played in an era which is really only being explored in books and longer features in the past few years and about which there was so much weirdness and coolness, good and bad.

Max Fried loses to Braves in salary arbitration

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried lost to the Atlanta Braves in salary arbitration and will make $13.5 million in the upcoming season instead of his $15 million request.

Mark Burstein, Fredric Horowitz and Jeanne Vonhof issued their decision a day after hearing arguments.

Despite the defeat, Fried matched the $13.5 million Gerrit Cole won in 2019 as the highest decided by an arbitration panel.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year in arbitration instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal.

He followed former Atlanta teammate Dansby Swanson in going to a hearing in consecutive years. Swanson, a shortstop, lost in 2021 and won last year, then signed a seven-year, $177 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

The last player to win hearings in consecutive years was pitcher Trevor Bauer against Cleveland in 2018 and 2019.

Fried, a 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 of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2021, Fried pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.