Fredi Gonzalez continues to bat Jason Heyward sixth

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I told myself that I wasn’t going to get too upset about the Braves batting order because batting order doesn’t matter a great deal, but I’m only human, my biggest fanboy crush of a baseball player continues to be left on the basepaths because no one behind him can drive him in and, dammit, I’m allowed to be emotional about this stuff from time to time.

Dave O’Brien of the AJC has an extended discussion of the problem today. The upshot: Fredi Gonzalez likes balance and lefty-righty stuff and, hey, you can’t let opposing teams pitch around Dan Uggla!  Dan “.160/.192/.360” Uggla.  Heaven forfend. He’s sticking with Heyward in the six-hole. At this point it wouldn’t shock me if he was doing it simply so that no one can say he caved to the pressure that I and other complainers are applying.

This all goes away if and when some of the other guys in the Braves’ lineup start hitting. But for now Jason Heyward is hitting. And walking. And so are Chipper Jones and Brian McCann for that matter. It sure would be nice if the three of those guys were bunched up in the lineup together to take advantage of that.  Let Nate McLouth and Uggla figure it out on their own damn time,

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.