Zack Greinke returned to Kansas City last night. After the game he spoke at length about his time in Kansas City, the state of the Royals and other such matters. The best exchange came after the reporter noticed that Greinke got a haircut that day:
Q: Any special meaning with the haircut today or was it just time?
A: Nah, [it was my] haircut guy from back in the day. He used to have a cool charm of some clippers, but they’re gone now. He does a good job. He told me to give him a shout-out today, too.
Q: What’s his name?
A: I wish I knew.
I love Greinke. I really do.
Less frivolously, the interview is an interesting one in that Greinke says that he was “pretty rude” in leaving the Royals, but felt he had to because if he was being a nice guy they never would have traded him. He offers a bunch of other pretty unvarnished honesty too. About the state of the Royals and some other things.
I guess what I like most about him is that he seems totally incapable of offering standard ballplayer cliches. He seems to think about the question given him and answers it in a direct way. It’s a crime how little that happens when ballplayers, politicians and anyone else in the public spotlight is concerned.
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.