The Pirates need a mercy rule for Brewers games

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Here are the scores of the last four Brewers-Pirates games. The Brewers have the big number in each of these, of course:

8-1
8-0
20-0
17-3.

Not that the Brewers are good. After all, in between game three and four of that list they lost three in a row to the Cubs, being outscored 25-4 in the process.  This is just a supernaturally-bad Pirates team, it seems.

Remember: this is the Pirates team which gave up 13 runs to the Dbacks in a single inning a couple of weeks ago. It’s a Pirates team that has been outscored 147-65, which has them comfortably on pace for the worst run-differential in baseball history. And it’s a mark they can attain even if they suddenly improve.

It’s hard to point to one single thing that is wrong with this team when so much is wrong, but I suppose starting pitching is the easiest target. Everyone is getting shelled and no one is even eating innings and saving the pen for another day in the process.

I figured the Pirates would be a bad team this year, but I didn’t figure they’d be this bad.  And while the crazy lopsided losses will cease sometime soon simply because such things aren’t sustainable, I see no way the Pirates can really improve themselves at this moment.

On the bright side, now even more great seats will be available at one of the best parks in baseball.  Sure, maybe you don’t want to pay your good money to watch the Pirates, but they gotta play a major league team, and half of a good performance is better than nothing.

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.