UPDATE: Jim Thome has done it!
Thome just launched an opposite field three-run blast off left-hander Daniel Schlereth in the top of the seventh inning to reach the 600-home run plateau. The veteran slugger was greeted at home plate by his teammates and hugged his family on the field before returning to the dugout.
Thome has two home runs and five RBI tonight. This is his 48th career multi-home run game.
While his chase has largely flown under the radar, Thome is now in the same exclusive club with Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. Pretty special.
9:00 PM: Jim Thome is on the brink of history.
Thome launched career homer No. 599 in the top of the sixth inning tonight against the Tigers. It was a two-run shot to left-center field off right-hander Rick Porcello which gave the Twins a 5-3 lead. It was his 10th home run of the season and traveled an estimated 412 feet.
Thome, 40, is now just one home run away from being just the eighth player in major league history to reach 600 home runs. Alex Rodriguez was the most recent player to reach the milestone last August.
He should get another chance to bat in the seventh or eighth inning, so stay tuned to see if he can get there.
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.