The Cubs are kicking the tires on James Shields

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David Kaplan of CSN Chicago.com reports the Cubs are “kicking the tires” on free agent James Shields.

Shields was reported to have several offers in hand already and at a point where he is going to make a decision at the end of this week, so they had best get kicking fast. If they do manage to add Shields, though, it will have represented a pretty big overall upgrade for their rotation this winter, what with the additions of Jon Lester and the return of Jason Hammel.

Also, if they add another pitcher, it could mean that Travis Wood — currently fifth on the Cubs’ depth chart — is the odd man out. To that end, Kaplan says that Chicago could trade Wood before spring training.

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.