Umpire admits blowing call Friday in Tigers-Braves game

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Yet another umpire has acknowledged blowing a call against the Tigers.

Manager Jim Leyland said Sunday that home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom admitted making an error just hours after ringing up Tigers outfielder Johnny Damon on a called third strike Friday.  The error spoiled a bases-loaded opportunity in the ninth inning as Detroit fell to the NL East-leading Braves. 

The Peter Moylan pitch was clearly outside, and Cederstrom recognized that in a chat on the phone with Leyland late Friday night.

“I kicked it,” the ump told Leyland.  “I knew it right away.”

Tigers starter Armando Galarraga had a perfect game stripped from his grasp in early June when umpire Jim Joyce blew a close call at the first base bag on what would have been the 27th and final out.  But, hey, at least the Tigers won that game.

Cederstrom made the controversial call Friday in a bases-loaded, full count situation, and with the Tigers trailing the Braves 4-3.  A walk would have tied the game.  These mistakes will continue to happen, of course, until Major League Baseball decides to expand its use of instant replay.

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.