Evan Grant on his first-place MVP vote for Michael Young

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It should come as no surprise that the lone first-place vote for Michael Young in the AL MVP balloting was cast by a Rangers writer. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News provided a long explanation for his reasoning (or lack thereof).

Mostly, it reads like a man trying to convince himself that his hometown hero should be the choice. Look at gems like these:

He hit .340 or better for each of the infield positions he played. He hit .319 or better for each of the three spots in the order.

When both [Josh] Hamilton and Nelson Cruz were out in May, Young outhit his teammates by 30 points to keep the offense treading water. When Adrian Beltre went down for six weeks with a hamstring injury, Young (.354) outhit the rest of his teammates by 20 points.

My eyes told me Michael Young meant more to the Texas Rangers and their success than any player in the American League.

I like that last sentence the best. Because there’s nothing else in the article that lends credence to the idea that one had to see Young on an everyday basis to get a true read on his worth. Except for maybe one line (“They did it, in large part, because every time their ship threatened to take on water, Michael Young led the effort to bail them out.”), the rest of the article is all facts and statistics supporting the case.

And, of course, facts and statistics aren’t really on Grant’s side here.

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.