Yesterday I said “Holliday signs with St. Louis in the next 48 hours, right?” Fine, make it next week, but the end game approacheth
Last night Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported
that the Cardinals and Matt Holliday are “working toward an agreement
that multiple sources described as gaining momentum.” There is no
indication that the deal they’re working on is based on any offer other
than the original Cardinals offer from several weeks ago. There is no
suggestion of other teams talking to the Holliday camp.
Indeed, assuming there are substantive talks finally happening between Holliday and the Cards, yesterday’s stuff about there being other teams involved makes perfect sense: Boras needs to be able to tell
the Cardinals that there are other teams involved in order to get a bit of leverage, and needs a couple
of reports he can hold up in an effort to support the assertion. So
what happens? Someone floats the Orioles story to Ringolsby so Boras can claim that Baltimore is interested. Someone floats the “other teams” thing to Heyman
so Boras can point to more. The funny part? I suspect that the quick
debunking of the Orioles report yesterday actually helped move these
negotiations along, in that it rendered the “other teams” gambit
transparent and forced Boras to stop playing and get down to brass tacks.
Ultimately, Holliday is going to get a big deal out of the Cardinals,
maybe as early as today. I suspect, however, that the deal is going to
hew pretty closely to the last offer the Cardinals made him, and that
there never really was any serious interest from other teams.
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.