More news that is not Cliff Lee-related:
Hundreds of baseball bats are broken by pro baseball players over the course of a season in the Nippon Professional Baseball league. The bits & pieces don’t go to waste, however, instead being reborn into cool chopsticks carrying NPB team names, colors and logos.
They’re called “Kattobashi,” a play on words from “KATTOBASE!!,” Japanese for “make a big hit” which is a term often heard (and heard often) at the ballpark. Also heard often is the crack of the bat – not only against the stitched horsehide sphere.
I don’t have much to say about this apart from “cool.” Also, I want to know if Japanese newspapers include the price of Kattobashi chopsticks in the calculations for their bogus, trend-piece “what it costs to take a family to the ballpark” stories. You know, like the U.S. ones in which they include eight hot dogs, four large sodas, four boxes of popcorn, two replica jerseys, two giant foam “we’re number one!” fingers and tickets along the rail right next to the dugout, all before lamenting that a family can’t afford to go to the ballpark anymore.
You know, the essentials.
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.