Jayson Werth: “it’s easier to chase than to be chased. You know?”

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Jayson Werth, talking to Tim Brown of Yahoo about the Nats, everyone’s preseason favorite in the NL East, being in second place, looking up at the Mets:

“I don’t mind being in stalking position,” Werth said. “When you make the run at it down the stretch, it’s easier to chase than to be chased. You know? I like these guys. We’re good. You see these teams having internal problems and stuff, that’s not us. We’re good.”

It’s easier to chase if you’re, say, a wolf or a lion or something. But being in the lead is way better for anyone who isn’t a deer or a zebra. In sports — and I realize this may be controversial — it’s way better to be in first place than second. That’s just science.

But then again, there are people who are paid to provide analysis in baseball who think that home runs kill rallies, so perhaps I’m wrong about this.

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.