Player Poll: Bryce Harper is the most overrated, Manny Machado is the dirtiest

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For the second year in a row, The Athletic has published the results of a 30-team survey in which players were asked all manner of questions, ranging from who are the most overrated players, who are the most underrated, who is the dirtiest and who would they least like to fight if fisticuffs broke out in a game.

There are also all manner of questions about baseball labor and money, the DH, which managers guys would want to play for the most and the least, which cities they most and least like to visit and tons of other interesting topics.

The Athletic pays its bills via subscriptions, so I’m not gonna give their stuff away for free, but as a teaser I will note that . .. .

  • Bryce Harper was voted the most overrated player in the game. Which he always is. Back in 2014 and even before that guys were rating him that way in other surveys. The guy was super hyped at 16, everyone decided he didn’t deserve that and, I suspect, he will thus always rate that way on these polls, even if he’s the MVP or hits for the triple crown or something;
  • Manny Machado was voted the game’s dirtiest player. Chase Utley got nearly 10% of the vote, though, even though he’s retired. Which is weird because usually people say Utley “played hard” not that he was dirty. Wonder why other dirty players don’t get that treatment?
  • Most players are unhappy with the state of labor issues and finances in the game. Some very much so, some only mildly. Most think there is fishiness in the market but a plurality stop short of calling it “collusion” even though some of them, in saying it’s not collusion, say that what is happening is “x” in which “x” actually describes collusion; and
  • Gabe Kapler is not gonna win any popularity contests among managers.

That’s it. You’re gonna have to go to The Athletic to read the rest of it. It’s funny as hell and revealing too. I don’t get a commission for recommending this, but this is the sort of thing The Athletic does really well and you should subscribe to ’em for that reason.

Max Fried loses to Braves in salary arbitration

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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.