History Lesson: even great careers rarely end well

Leave a comment

Lar at Wezen-Ball reflects
on the presumptive end of Tom Glavine’s career by looking at how other
first-ballot Hall of Famers — a club Glavine will almost certainly
join — ended theirs:

With everyone talking about the Braves and Tom Glavine this week,
and how unfair the whole situation seems to be, it’s good to remember
that there are many all-time greats whose careers ended in a similar
(or worse) way than Glavine’s seems to have ended. It’s the sad nature
of the game, though, especially as players like Tom Glavine or even Tom
Seaver age beyond the ability for their bodies to come back from
injury.

Still, as true as that may be, we shouldn’t fret. Yes, we all
remember Willie Mays falling down in the outfield as a New York Met or
Dave Winfield failing to make the postseason roster in his final year,
but that’s neither the lasting image nor the last feelings that we have
of these greats. Instead, we remember their power and their grace and
their energy and their attitude from back in their prime. That’s why,
when you think of Babe Ruth, you see him swinging for the fences in
Yankee Stadium or leaning on a bat grinning, and why you see Willie
Mays running out to centerfield to catch that ball when you think of
the Say Hey Kid.

Before reaching that conclusion, Lar runs through excerpts from the
final game stories of multiple legends. Eye-opening stuff for those of
you who think of Reggie Jackson as a Yankee, Dennis Eckersley as an
Athletic, and Steve Carlton as a Phillie.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
6 Comments

Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.