Ron Washington paid a fine from MLB with 20,000 pennies

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I love when old stories like this surface.

A few years ago Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre and manager Ron Washington were tossed out of a spring training game by an umpire and then … well, I’ll let Stefan Stevenson of the Forth Worth Star Telegram take it from here:

However, after the ejection Washington never left the dugout as required because the ballpark at Peoria Sports Complex isn’t exactly flush with great places for a manager to hang out if ejected. MLB fined him double — $200 — for not leaving the dugout.

Washington responded by filling a box with $200 in pennies and mailing it to Bob Watson, MLB vice president in charge of discipline. Cost to mail it to New York: About $45.

Watson called after receiving the box. Watson: “And you just had $200 in pennies hanging around? Washington: “Yes. Bob, I didn’t have my checkbook. I wasn’t trying to be funny. Now go to the bank and put that in the [change] machine and get your $200.”

There’s actually a website called PayWithPennies.com that’s devoted to “culture jamming involving large payments in pennies to organizations that are difficult to deal with.”

Ron Washington: Culture Jammer.

Also, apparently you can be arrested for trying to pay for something with a huge amount of pennies, although it’s mostly about dumping them on a counter or otherwise making things annoying for the person being paid. Washington sent them in a nice box and even paid $45 extra to get it to MLB, so he’s probably in the clear there.

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.