“We love you A-Rod”

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That’s what someone shouted from their car at Alex Rodriguez as he left the Yankees training complex yesterday as he finished his first day of baseball activities following hip surgery.

Kevin Kernan of the Post has a story about it. A-Rod says all the right things. It’s like the Yankees Department of Mystique and Aura wrote his script for him. He said it’s like “being 8 years old again.” He’s excited about the future, admits to feeling embarrassed about how last season ended and, while being cautious about his timetable for return, waxes positive and optimistic. If all of the things he said came out of Derek Jeter’s mouth no one would bat an eye.

This had to bug Kernan and the Post sports editors. Absolutely NOTHING in there with which to criticize Rodriguez. So he added this at the end:

With those words, Rodriguez got into his Maybach, a vehicle that sells for about $416,000, and was off — finally, his first day of baseball activities behind him.

I don’t ever recall reading about what car Jeter or Teixeira or Granderson or anyone else drove away in from the training facility, let alone how much it cost. The only reason for the car stuff and the misleading scene-setting is to signal to Post readers that A-Rod is rich and different in order to stoke some sort of “he’s an out-of-touch big shot” fires. That’s it.

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.