Craig Biggio: “If you stand close to the plate, you’re going to get hit”

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Craig Biggio got hit more than all but one player (Hughie Jennings) in baseball history, earning a bruise 285 times during his 20-year career with the Houston Astros. Biggio was likely intentionally thrown at more than once in those 285 occurrences, but he never once charged the mound. Why? MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart quotes Biggio:

I always felt that if I got hit on purpose, my pitcher was going to stick up for me and there was no reason to go out and charge the mound. An eye for an eye. That’s how you get the respect from your teammates. From the standpoint of a hitter, I didn’t move. I didn’t stand on top of the plate, but I knew if guys came in, I was going to get hit. That’s part of the game.

Take note, Carlos Quentin. The Padres outfielder, responsible for last night’s bench-clearing brawl with the Dodgers, has been hit 116 times in his eight-year career and is known for crowding the plate. He took issue with Zack Greinke hitting him with a fastball last night. If he is going to be seeking revenge for getting hit while refusing to back off of the plate, he will be adding a lot more enemies to an already-lengthy list.

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.