Nationals making progress in talks for Denard Span

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UPDATE: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Nationals are “making headway” with the Twins in trade talks for center fielder Denard Span. The Twins are insisting that Drew Storen is included in the deal along with a second player. From Adam Kilgore’s report earlier in the day, we can assume that might mean Roger Bernadina. Mercy.

Interestingly, Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports tweeted a little bit earlier that the Yankees have also inquired about Denard Span, though he suspects it could be part of a bigger deal. In turn, Joel Sherman of the New York Post believes that it could be an avenue for the Yankees to flip Span to the Nationals for Tyler Clippard.

Of course, the Yankees originally swapped Clippard to the Nationals for Jonathan Albaladejo back in December of 2007. Jonathan Albaladejo? Exactly.

3:02 PM: Oh boy. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that the Twins want Roger Bernadina along with a reliever in any deal that sends Denard Span to Washington. What’s the hold-up here, Mike Rizzo? Give Bill Smith who he wants and tell him you’ll talk to him again next July.

12:02 PM: Just in case you thought the idea of trading Denard Span for Drew Storen was bananas, here’s this.

According to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, the Nationals are now pushing Tyler Clippard instead of Storen in a potential trade.

Clippard, who was named to the National League All-Star team this season, has an impressive 1.70 ERA and 73/20 K/BB ratio over 58 1/3 innings this season. However, while Storen is under team control through 2016, Clippard would be eligible for free agency one year earlier.

Fortunately it sounds like the Twins aren’t having any of this, as Miller writes that they won’t accept a set-up man in return for Span. And as our own Aaron Gleeman will tell you, the Twins like the idea of a “proven closer.”

Span, 27, is owed $3 million next season, $4.75 million in 2013 and $6.5 million in 2014. His contract also includes a $9 million club option for 2015 or a $500,000 buyout.

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.