Report: The Red Sox want Michael Young “badly”

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While Jose Iglesias has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox this season, recently taking over the starting third base job from the demoted Will Middlebrooks, the club is on the lookout for other options. And they have one name at the top of their list.

George A. King III of the New York Post was told by an industry source that the Red Sox want Phillies third baseman Michael Young “badly.” With Kevin Youkilis potentially out for the season following back surgery and Alex Rodriguez a question mark following hip surgery and the uncertainty of the Biogenesis investigation, King speculates that the Yankees could also be a fit.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has said on multiple occasions that he has no intention to be a seller, though things could obviously change if the team falls further out of the race in the next month. They’ll enter play today at 39-42 on the season, 7 1/2 games behind the Braves in the National League East and 6 1/2 games back for a Wild Card spot.

Young is batting .289/.348/.412 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 74 games with the Phillies this season. Acquired from the Rangers during the winter, the 36-year-old is still owed around $8 million for the rest of the season. He has a full no-trade clause, so he would have to sign off on a potential deal.

While Iglesias has received most of the playing time at third base for the Red Sox of late, he’s starting at shortstop today in place of Stephen Drew, who left last night’s game with hamstring tightness. The Red Sox called up Jonathan Diaz today as a stopgap option for the hot corner.

Noah Syndergaard on Mets extending Jacob deGrom: ‘Pay the man already.’

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March has marked contract extension season across Major League Baseball. Just in the last week, we have seen Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Brandon Lowe, Alex Bregman, Ryan Pressly, Mike Trout, Eloy Jiménez, Blake Snell, and Paul Goldschmidt sign extensions. Nolan Arenado, Luis Severino, and Aaron Nola also notably signed extensions during the offseason.

One name strikingly absent from that list: Mets ace Jacob deGrom. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is coming off of a season in which he posted a 1.70 ERA with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks across 217 innings. It’s the lowest ERA by a qualified starter since Zack Greinke‘s 1.66 in 2015. Prior to Greinke, no pitcher had posted an ERA of 1.70 or lower since Greg Maddux in 1994-95 (1.56, 1.63).

deGrom is earning $17 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility going into the 2020 season. He will turn 31 years old in June, but is an obvious extension candidate for the Mets, who have built arguably their most competitive team since 2015, when the club lost the World Series in five games to the Royals. Thus far, though, the Mets and deGrom haven’t been able to get anywhere in extension talks.

deGrom’s rotation mate Noah Syndergaard is watching. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Syndergaard said, “I think Jake’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth. I want them to keep him happy so when it does come time for him to reach free agency, he stays on our side pitching for the Mets. I just think they should quit all the fuss and pay the man already.”

Syndergaard added that the recent extension trend around baseball — and deGrom’s lack of an extension to date — sends a message. He said, “I think so, yes, because of what you see in what’s going on in baseball right now. If there wasn’t a trend of other guys getting contract extensions, then I don’t know what the circumstance would be. But you see Chris Sale, Verlander getting extensions. I think it’s time Jacob gets one too.”

Part of the equation behind the recent rash of extensions is the stagnation of free agency. Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel — two of baseball’s better pitchers — have gone through almost an entire spring training without being signed. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado didn’t find new homes until late February. Free agents in their 30’s are largely being underpaid or otherwise forgotten about. Extensions represent financial security for young and old players alike. Syndergaard himself can become a free agent after the 2021 season, so if deGrom’s prospects improve, then so too will his, at least without knowing the details of the next collective bargaining agreement which will be put into place ahead of the 2022 season.