Must-Click Link: The definitive Jack Morris column

110 Comments

I know you all are tied of Jack Morris stuff. The arguments and all of that.  But I implore you — strongly — to make room in your day for this Baseball Prospectus post from John Bernhardt.  It’s long — like, really long — but it’s worth it. It’s worth it for two reasons.

First, as a piece of analysis it’s definitive. John looks fairly at both the traditionalist arguments for Morris and the sabermetric arguments against him.  Rather than join the argument in the middle as so many of us do now because of their familiarity and in the interests of time, John takes it all as a whole as though approaching it for the first time.  This makes it the perfect piece to send to your friends who haven’t thought as much about it all as you have.

The second, and I would argue, more important reason: it’s just a beautiful piece of prose.  While John’s leanings regarding the merits of Morris are clear, he does not throw numbers at you all willy-nilly as has become the style in some sabermetric-leaning circles.  He tells a story. An entertaining one and a convincing one. And it’s good reading even if you don’t much like the substance. Indeed, there is a long portion of it analyzing Lonnie Smith’s base running blunder in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series that I greatly enjoyed even though it broke down one of the most excruciating plays in my baseball-watching life in excruciating detail.  Good writing can make you endure almost anything, and John’s writing is that good.

Eventually, John winds up here:

Whatever the reason, Morris is now a test case to see if a candidate with a strong enough narrative, no matter how groundless, imaginary, or overblown it might be, can make the Hall simply because his supporters repeated it so often and so loudly that one morning the world woke up and found it was true.

I can’t dispute any of that. And even those who may want to dispute it will be better for having read John’s piece before doing so.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
7 Comments

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.