Cleveland’s League Park still exists, is getting a $5 million renovation

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Things I did not know: Cleveland’s League Park, in which Cy Young pitched for the Cleveland Spiders in 1891 and which was home to the Cleveland Indians until 1946, still stands. At least partially.  And the city of Cleveland has somehow found some money to help renovate it:

City Architecture is wrapping up plans that include restoring the ticket house and a bleacher wall and creating a Major League-size diamond in the same place as the original. Home plate will go in the exact spot where it rested the day that Babe Ruth whacked his 500th career home run in 1929.

Plans also call for a community building with a museum, a youth baseball diamond and a field for football and soccer. If bids are low enough, the city could add a pavilion and splash park.

As the article makes clear, there’s oodles of history associated with that yard. And while its days as a baseball stadium were over before my mother was born, it’s great that enough of the structure remains that it can anchor what sounds like will a useful and vibrant facility in the future. One that recalls history while still serving a present need.

And of course all I can think of is how sad it was that no one could pull that off with Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Despite the fact that it sat vacant for nearly 60 years less than League Park did.

Sigh.

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.