We will continue to see this sort of thing until offers start flying. Do they mean anything? Doubtful. I must be sick, though, because I can’t get enough of them:
A look of panic crossed Cliff Lee’s face as he walked into the auditorium at the Holland Chapel Church one January evening this year, right before he and his wife, Kristen, were honored as Citizens of the Year by the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce for their charity work . . . “I don’t have to speak, do I?” a freaked-out Lee asked his friend . . . “That’s Cliff,” Brumley says. “He can pitch in the World Series before millions of fans, but he can’t speak to 500 people at a banquet. He doesn’t like to be the center of attention.”
Scare-mongering by the Daily News, I presume. Making people think that Lee will stay away from the big money in New York because he’s small-town. Of course, these stories never seen to mention the fact that Ron Guidry and Mikey Mantle and a whole host of other Yankees stars came from Nowheresville. And that, in general, a huge part of baseball history is based on country boys coming to New York and conquering the world.
Oh well, it passes the time. And it gives you a chance to see Lee’s prom picture, which is fairly hilarious.
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.