The final AL All-Star balloting update before the teams are set

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There’s still time to vote, but if it ended now, the AL All-Star team would look like so.

The only change to a starter over last week’s results: Robinson Cano taking over first place at second base from Ian Kinsler. Downballot, we see A-Rod passing Evan Longoria for third place at third base, a flip-flop of Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones at 4-5 among outfielders and Adam Dunn passing Raul Ibanez for third place among DH’s. So it’s mostly ho-hum.

CATCHER
Mike Napoli, Rangers: 3,008,228
Joe Mauer, Twins: 1,772,228
Matt Wieters, Orioles: 1,623,459

FIRST BASE
Prince Fielder, Tigers: 2,825,532
Paul Konerko, White Sox: 2,261,388
Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 1,863,873

SECOND BASE
Robinson Cano, Yankees: 3,559,290
Ian Kinsler, Rangers: 3,462,367
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 1,666,282

THIRD BASE
Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 3,073,541
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 2,692,047
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 1,748,534

SHORTSTOP
Derek Jeter, Yankees: 4,407,982
Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 2,764,888
J.J. Hardy, Orioles: 1,331,927

OUTFIELD
Josh Hamilton, Rangers: 7,310,824
Curtis Granderson, Yankees: 3,812,339
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 2,773,442
Nelson Cruz, Rangers: 2,681,019
Adam Jones, Orioles: 2,633,259
David Murphy, Rangers: 1,738,805

DH
David Ortiz, Red Sox: 3,128,711
Michael Young, Rangers: 2,564,572
Adam Dunn: 1,436,643

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.