Rangers talking contract extension with left-hander Matt Harrison

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The Rangers and Matt Harrison have already had some preliminary discussions about a contract extension, but the left-hander told Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest yesterday that he’s hoping to have more talks this weekend while he’s in town for the team’s Fan Fest.

“We’re definitely still talking,” said Harrison. “We’ll see where that goes. We haven’t got anything finished yet. I’m excited about what’s happening and the opportunity to spend some time here. I definitely will have some time to think about that tomorrow.”

After posting a 3.39 ERA in his first full season in the rotation in 2011, Harrison finished eighth in the AL Cy Young balloting last season by going 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA and 133/59 K/BB ratio over 213 1/3 innings. The 27-year-old southpaw is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and is line for a nice raise from the $2.95 million salary he made in 2012.

Harrison is under team control through 2014, so the Rangers could buy out his final two years of arbitration and maybe some free agent years. The club already has Yu Darvish locked up through 2017 and Derek Holland under contract through 2016 with club options for 2017 and 2018.

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.