Pedro Alvarez is not at Pirates’ minicamp. He is not required to be. But maybe he should be?

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Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has a story about Pirates’ minicamp. And Pedro Alvarez’s absence therefrom. Which is totally cool per the collective bargaining agreement because Alvarez is on the 40-man and guys on the 40-man are not required to attend minicamps.

But Alvarez is also in a unique situation in which his ineptness at third base required him to move to first base last August, and a foot injury kept him from actually playing first base. Since the Pirates are expecting him to be their everyday first baseman this season, he could use all the time he can get to figure out the position. But GM Neal Huntington knows he can’t force Alvarez to come and get the extra work:

“We open the facility (because) we want as many guys as possible to come together and get ready to go because we’re not too far away from spring training,” Huntington said. “The union, obviously, has been very aggressive in (its) right to protect the players from having to work too hard in January and be under club control in January. We get that.

“Pedro had the complete option to come or not. We expect him to be ready to go on the first day of spring training and to get after it.”

I don’t think it’s crazy for those comments to be interpreted as “Jesus, we sure wish Pedro had his butt down here learning first base, but I suppose I can’t say that.” And man, I would love to hear Huntington’s off-the-record comments about all of that.

If I were Alvarez, I would first say “oh my God, how did I become Pedro Alvarez?!” But then I would probably say to myself “you know, it may be a good idea to be in minicamp, even if I don’t have to be.”

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.

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 with 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.