The Yankees have some interest in Rick Ankiel

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Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post hears that the Yankees “have shown some interest” in picking up Rick Ankiel.

Ankiel was designated for assignment by the Nationals this week after batting just .228/.282/.411 with five home runs and a .694 OPS through 171 plate appearances. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wrote at the time that the Yankees “don’t seem interested” in Ankiel, but it’s possible things have changed over the past couple of days.

Brett Gardner will have right elbow surgery next week and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Meanwhile, Nick Swisher left last night’s game against the Athletics with a mild left hip flexor strain and is considered day-to-day. Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones have been surprisingly productive in left field and Dewayne Wise has played well as an extra outfielder, but the Yankees figure to be on the lookout for alternatives in the coming days and weeks.

Ankiel, 33, can play all three outfield positions and has some pop from the left side, so he figures to latch on somewhere even if the Yankees pass.

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.