Brewers sign Jonathan Lucroy to $11 million extension

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UPDATE: Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the deal is for five years and $11 million in guaranteed money.

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Jonathan Lucroy and the Brewers are on the verge of agreeing to a multi-year contract extension, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

No details yet, but Rosenthal reports that the extension will be for either four or five years. Lucroy won’t even be arbitration eligible for the first time until 2014, so a four-year deal would simply be pre-paying for his arbitration seasons and a fifth year would buy out his first season of free agency in 2017.

If that happens Lucroy will be one of the least accomplished players to ever sign a long-term extension, as the 26-year-old catcher has hit just .260 with a .307 on-base percentage and .366 slugging percentage in 211 games. He started 114 of 162 games last season, but posted a modest .703 OPS that ranked 17th among the 21 catchers with at least 100 games.

Lucroy is certainly capable of more production and always showed good on-base skills in the minors, but right now he looks like more of a role player than a long-term building block.

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.