Athletics option Jarrod Parker to Triple-A after he walks seven in Monday start

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Jarrod Parker was the centerpiece of the deal which sent Trevor Cahill to the Diamondbacks in December, but he showed this afternoon that he may need a little more seasoning.

Parker issued seven walks over just 3 2/3 innings against Arizona, after which he was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. The 23-year-old right-hander undoubtedly had some nerves facing his former team, but he walked three batters in each of his previous two outings and averaged 3.8 BB/9 last season at Double-A after missing the entire 2010 season following Tommy John surgery.

Even though Parker was sent down, Athletics manager Bob Melvin told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he hasn’t necessarily ruled him out for the final spot in the starting rotation. The team won’t need a fifth starter for the first time until April 17 due to scheduled off-days, so the plan calls for him to stay behind and work in Arizona for now.

“I know he’s disappointed about not going to Japan, but that doesn’t mean he’s not in the running for the fifth-starter spot,” Melvin said “He is going to be part of this team, if not right now, certainly in the future. He’s as talented a guy as we have here.”

As of now, Tommy Milone, Tyson Ross and Graham Godfrey figure to follow Brandon McCarthy and Bartolo Colon in Oakland’s starting rotation.

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.