When the Dodgers exercised their half of Scott Podsednik’s mutual option earlier this week the assumption was that the speedy outfielder would soon do the same and accept a $2 million salary for 2011, but today Podsednik declined his half of the option and became a free agent.
Podsednik earned $1.75 million this season and was paid less than $1 million in both 2008 and 2009, so $2 million seemed like a pretty good salary for a 35-year-old left fielder with a .382 slugging percentage.
Of course, it only takes one team focusing on his speed and veteran-ness above his lack of production to make opting out of the Dodgers deal a sound move for Podsednik.
For all his speed Podsednik isn’t a legitimate option defensively in center field and was thrown out on 15 of 50 steal attempts in addition to annually being among the league leaders in times picked off. He gets on base at a decent clip and has good range in left field, but I’m just not sure how many teams are in the market for a .725 OPS left fielder at this point.
He may find another offer in the $2 million range, but sticking with the Dodgers was probably his best shot at everyday playing time.
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.