“Heck yeah” Bengie Molina would step in for Buster Posey … if the Giants will have him back

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Matthew examined the Giants’ various options to replace Buster Posey behind the plate, noting that bringing back Bengie Molina was an iffy proposition because the hefty 36-year-old “didn’t seem to have a whole left last year” and was “awfully immobile behind the plate.”

Molina, as you might expect, is very much open to the idea of a reunion, telling Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News “heck yeah” when asked if he’d be ready to play for the Giants again.

However, as Baggarly notes “he’d probably need a few weeks in the minors first to get in game shape” and “has not received a call from the Giants and he’s not expecting one because he perceives hard feelings from the front office at how his tenure ended.”

Eli Whiteside is no one’s idea of a starting catcher, but his .229 batting average and .644 OPS in 129 career games is basically identical to Molina hitting .249 with a .623 OPS in 118 games for the Giants and Rangers last season.

From the Giants’ point of view, Molina probably isn’t worth the hassle.

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.