If you’re snowed in like me, or just
have a few minutes to kill before football dominates the day, I
recommend reading Andy Martino’s excellent piece from the Philadelphia
Inquirer recounting Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro’s pursuit of ace Roy Halladay.
Of course, the Phillies tried for
Roy Halladay in July, but the talks were rekindled with one simple
conversation at the November GM meetings in Chicago, when Amaro and his lieutenants approached new general manager Alex Anthopoulos
waiting for an elevator at the O’Hare Hilton.
“I want to ask you something,” Amaro said, according to Anthopoulos.
The two walked down a hallway and chatted about Halladay.
Amaro was direct and aggressive. “What’s your asking price?” he
said, before offering Anthopoulos a few days to think about his answer
and get back to the Phillies.
But the Toronto GM did not need any time; he remembered the player he’d been most impressed with in July.
“We like Drabek,” he said.
Martino touches on all aspects of
the trade, including the failed attempt to deal Joe Blanton and the
subsequent decision to trade Cliff Lee, the almost-trade of Phillippe
Aumont and Tyson Gillies to the Blue Jays and the madness of the
“flunked physical” that wasn’t. It’s a fascinating piece, not just
because of the complexity of the trade, but Amaro’s overt determination
to have Halladay in Philadelphia at any cost, even if it meant dealing
away a postseason hero.
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.