Reds, Blue Jays and Rangers all in the mix for Matt Garza

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UPDATE: Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com hears that the Rangers are also have interest in Garza.

11:36 PM: According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Cubs and Reds are talking about a possible Garza deal. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jayson Stark was told by an executive that there’s now a “very high chance” that Garza is dealt before Tuesday’s deadline. The Blue Jays are said to be charging hard.

10:16 PM: The assumption has been that Matt Garza will remain with the Cubs through tomorrow’s trade deadline, as he was recently skipped in the rotation due to cramping in his right triceps. However, ESPN’s Jayson Stark is hearing otherwise.

According to Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com, Garza threw a bullpen session today for the first time since the injury. Cubs manager Dale Sveum said it went “extremely well,” but it’s not clear when he’ll make his next start. Some teams may want to see him pitch again before making an offer, so unless the Cubs are blown away at the last minute, they might be better served to make a deal in the offseason.

Garza, 28, has a 3.91 ERA and 96/32 K/BB ratio in 103 2/3 innings across 18 starts this season. He’s due a raise from his $9.5 million salary this offseason in his final go-around in arbitration.

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.