A-Rod may sit out the All-Star Game

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Alex Rodriguez was voted in as the starting third baseman for the All-Star Game, but he may sit it out in order to rest his ailing knee.

I expect to hear a number of injury-themed bag-jobs on the All-Star Game in the coming days. It always happens and people rarely raise an eyebrow about it.  I don’t expect that to necessarily be the case with A-Rod, though, because people go out of their way to hate on him.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this story, supposedly about Derek Jeter getting 3000 hits, but somehow finding a way to insert this paragraph:

A-Rod is the anti-Jeter, a petulant player with tremendous skills who seems to play the game only for himself. He conned the Yankees into taking him on after three steroid-fueled years in Texas during which he hit 156 home runs, then got a new $275 million deal before he was finally outed as a user of performance-enhancing drugs.

The hate is strong out there. I expect to see A-Rod rage in stories about budget talks and the Middle East pretty soon.

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.