Say goodbye to the Coca-Cola slide in San Francisco

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Coca Cola slide.jpgMaybe not officially or anything, but the big slide in the Coke bottle at AT&T Park may not be around much longer:

The famous Coca-Cola bottle slide at the San Francisco Giants’ waterfront ballpark is becoming known for another reason: lawsuits. The team, which starts
its season Monday, is facing a $6 million suit by Chad Mello, who
injured his left knee and ankle in July 2008 on the slide, which shoots
people through a green, 60-foot Coke bottle via metal tubes.

At least 55 people have
been injured on the slide, known as the Guzzler, which failed two safety
inspections in recent years, the Giants said.

I was dismissive of the risks when the first lawsuit was filed a couple of years ago — and I haven’t seen the lawsuits or the evidence, so who knows if this Mello guy has a case — but if that many people are busting their ankles on the thing, it just might be inherently dangerous.

In other news, ballparks are for baseball games. Not carnival rides and other assorted amusements.

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

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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.