Bryce Harper on Phillies fans: “Hopefully they don’t throw batteries at me”

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Before we get to Bryce Harper’s quote, something Cole Hamels said to Bob Nightengale of USA Today regarding the Nationals and Harper is wroth some scrutiny:

“Yeah, I accidentally stirred the pot,” Hamels told USA TODAY Sports. “It was unintentional. But that’s just the way it happens sometimes.”

OK, now it’s unintentional? So … you weren’t practicing Old School, Prestigious Baseball after all? Whatever, dude. For what it’s worth, Hamels does admit that his aim of plunking Harper backfired and that Harper showed him what he was made of, so I guess there’s peace on that front.

But maybe not with the fans, as Harper is stirring the pot himself:

Harper, 19, seems to know, and relish, what might await him in Philly. “Hopefully I get a couple boos,” he said. “I’m excited to get up there and play. Hopefully they don’t throw any batteries at me.”

I wish someone would tell Harper how this works. How it’s wrong, wrong, wrong to stereotype Philly fans like that. Yes, they’ve thrown batteries at people and have committed all manner of fan asshattery one can think of, but when they do it, you’re not supposed to say anything about it. You’re supposed to say “hey, that’s an unfair stereotype,” and then note how sometimes fans of other teams do bad things too. Oh, and when fans of other teams do things you’re supposed to jump out of your skin to say “Can you imagine what would happen if that happened in Philly? The haters would be all over us!”

But under no circumstances are you to suggest that Philly fans may behave in ways they have behaved in the past and, if they do, you should never ever point it out, because that makes you a hater.

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.