I checked with my parole officer and it seems that I still have several hours of Jeff Francoeur-related restitution and community service before I’m off the hook, so here goes:
Francoeur made two astounding plays in last night’s Mariners-Royals game. Both plays came off the bat of Dustin Ackley too, which makes me think that Francoeur is Arthur Dent to Ackley’s Agrajag, but we can leave that conversation for another time.
Both plays can be seen here. In the first one he scaled the wall and robbed Ackley of a home run in the third inning. The umps may have actually robbed Ackley of a home run too, as the ball seemed to richochet off a fan’s glove before Francoeur got it, which should have made it a homer, but let’s not take too much away from the Flyin’ Francoeur.
The very next inning Ackley hit another shot to right — this one a liner that could have been extra bases — but Franceour leaped and snagged it too. I couldn’t see enough of the play to tell if it was a great read and react by Francoeur or if the leap was necessitated by a late break or bad route or something, but I suspect it was the former. Either way, he took what should have been a hit away from Ackley.
Mariners won, though, so I suppose Ackely will learn to live with it.
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.