The Red Sox must win. Joe Biden’s life may depend on it.

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Setting politics and plagiarism and hair plugs aside, Joe Biden is pretty awesome. He’s about the only person in high elected office who says stuff that sounds like it comes from a real human being’s mind rather than some calculation factory to which only politicians have access.

He swears. He makes dumb jokes. You get the sense that has a lot of fun being the vice president and that, if he weren’t the vice president, he could be that guy you used to live next door to back when you had the condo. The one you sort of liked seeing sometimes even if you were never really going to be friends with him. Great guy. What was his name again? Randy, I think? Or maybe it was Rick?

Anyway, Joe Biden is a Phillies fan, but he kinda sorta needs the Red Sox to win toight:

Vice President Joe Biden was in Boston yesterday and talked about why he was rooting for the Red Sox. Here’s the anecdote from the Globe’s Shira Schoenberg on our Political Intelligence blog:

Biden said his lead Secret Service man is from Boston. Before his plane landed, Biden said, “I said everyone bow their head. We’re going to say a prayer that Boston wins the wild card spot. … I’m worried if in fact they don’t, he’s going to be so damn miserable he will not jump in front of a bullet.”

Funny. If things go awry tonight you figure he may be more likely to jump in front of a bullet, but I suppose we all mourn our choking teams in our own way.

Noah Syndergaard on Mets extending Jacob deGrom: ‘Pay the man already.’

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March has marked contract extension season across Major League Baseball. Just in the last week, we have seen Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Brandon Lowe, Alex Bregman, Ryan Pressly, Mike Trout, Eloy Jiménez, Blake Snell, and Paul Goldschmidt sign extensions. Nolan Arenado, Luis Severino, and Aaron Nola also notably signed extensions during the offseason.

One name strikingly absent from that list: Mets ace Jacob deGrom. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is coming off of a season in which he posted a 1.70 ERA with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks across 217 innings. It’s the lowest ERA by a qualified starter since Zack Greinke‘s 1.66 in 2015. Prior to Greinke, no pitcher had posted an ERA of 1.70 or lower since Greg Maddux in 1994-95 (1.56, 1.63).

deGrom is earning $17 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility going into the 2020 season. He will turn 31 years old in June, but is an obvious extension candidate for the Mets, who have built arguably their most competitive team since 2015, when the club lost the World Series in five games to the Royals. Thus far, though, the Mets and deGrom haven’t been able to get anywhere in extension talks.

deGrom’s rotation mate Noah Syndergaard is watching. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Syndergaard said, “I think Jake’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth. I want them to keep him happy so when it does come time for him to reach free agency, he stays on our side pitching for the Mets. I just think they should quit all the fuss and pay the man already.”

Syndergaard added that the recent extension trend around baseball — and deGrom’s lack of an extension to date — sends a message. He said, “I think so, yes, because of what you see in what’s going on in baseball right now. If there wasn’t a trend of other guys getting contract extensions, then I don’t know what the circumstance would be. But you see Chris Sale, Verlander getting extensions. I think it’s time Jacob gets one too.”

Part of the equation behind the recent rash of extensions is the stagnation of free agency. Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel — two of baseball’s better pitchers — have gone through almost an entire spring training without being signed. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado didn’t find new homes until late February. Free agents in their 30’s are largely being underpaid or otherwise forgotten about. Extensions represent financial security for young and old players alike. Syndergaard himself can become a free agent after the 2021 season, so if deGrom’s prospects improve, then so too will his, at least without knowing the details of the next collective bargaining agreement which will be put into place ahead of the 2022 season.