Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal were on the same page with their Hall of Fame voting pieces this morning. They’re likewise on the same page in passing along disdain for the Matt Holliday deal too. First was Robo talking about Boras’ bluff and now here’s Buster passing along two quotes regarding the Cardinals’ overpayment, the first from an MLB official:
“Given what was in front of the Cardinals, that will go down as
one of the worst deals in major league history. I have to give [Scott] Boras credit — he managed to get them to bid
against themselves. After the Mets signed [Jason] Bay, everybody pretty
much knew who was in and who was out. No Yankees, no Red Sox, no Mets,
no Dodgers, no Angels — and he still got $120 million. Incredible.”
And then one from a “veteran agent”:
“[When the Mets signed Bay] the Cardinals should have called [Boras] and said, ‘You
know that other offer we had on the table? Well, it’s obsolete. We’re
now offering you $80 million for five years, and you’ve got 48 hours to
make a decision.’ I don’t think Boras would have had a choice but to
make a deal.”
I agree that the Cardinals overpaid, at the very least in terms of years. I wonder, though, whether other teams would have come back into the bidding if a five-year, $80 million take-it-or-leave-it offer was on the table.
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.