Scott Boras was able to land Prince Fielder a massive contract, but two of his other clients, Ryan Madson and Edwin Jackson, ended up settling for one-year deals well below what they were expecting when the offseason began.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com writes that “there’s a lot of buzz in baseball circles that Madson might be on the verge of shopping for a new agent in the aftermath of a bad negotiating experience this offseason.”
Madson, however, said today that he’s sticking with Boras:
I’m still with Scott and I plan on being with Scott for the foreseeable future. Everything is the same. That’s the way the business part of the game works. You can hear one story from one person and that’s the truth, then a different story from somebody else and that could be true. It’s a group of people making decisions, and you’re not going to pin it down unless you get the whole group together.
Boras claimed that the Phillies did Madson wrong by pulling what he believed was a four-year, $44 million offer made early in the offseason, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insists it never reached the acceptance stage. Philadelphia then signed Jonathan Papelbon for $50 million and Madson settled for a one-year, $8.5 million deal from the Reds.
It’s probably misleading to say that cost him $35 million, because if healthy Madson will be able to land another sizable deal next offseason, but no one could blame him for being disappointed with how things went. And if Boras is going to be lavished with praise for the Fielder signing, the flipside should be true when it comes to Madson and Jackson.
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.