Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .359 and on pace for 151 RBIs

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Adrian Gonzalez totaled eight hits in three games while facing the Padres for the first time since they traded him to the Red Sox in December and now leads the league in batting average (.359), RBIs (69), hits (109), and doubles (25) while ranking among the top three in slugging percentage (.609), OPS (1.019), and runs scored (55).

Gonzalez’s raw numbers were severely deflated by playing half his games in San Diego’s extremely pitcher-friendly ballpark, as his road numbers always dwarfed his home production. That has all changed now that Gonzalez is calling Fenway Park home, as he’s hit .380 with a 1.025 OPS in Boston.

Gonzalez has always been one of the truly elite hitters in baseball, but now his home ballpark is actually allowing his raw numbers to show his greatness. In addition to the .359 batting average Gonzalez is on pace for 151 RBIs, which would be the eighth-highest total since 1950. He’s also on pace to join Lou Gehrig, Chuck Klein, and Joe Medwick as the only players in baseball history to hit .350 or higher with 30-plus homers, 50-plus doubles, and 150-plus RBIs. Medwick was the last guy to do it … in 1937.

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.