Opening Night lineups: Dodgers vs. Padres

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Here are the starting lineups for MLB’s “Opening Night” game Sunday between the Dodgers and Padres at San Diego’s Petco Park. First pitch is scheduled for just after 8:05 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Los Angeles Dodgers

LF Carl Crawford
RF Yasiel Puig
SS Hanley Ramirez
1B Adrian Gonzalez
CF Andre Ethier
3B Juan Uribe
C A.J. Ellis
2B Dee Gordon
SP Hyun-Jin Ryu

San Diego Padres

SS Everth Cabrera
RF Chris Denorfia
3B Chase Headley
2B Jedd Gyorko
1B Yonder Alonso
LF Tommy Medica
CF Will Venable
C Rene Rivera
SP Andrew Cashner

Dee Gordon batted leadoff during his one start at the Sydney Cricket Ground but will hit eighth in the Dodgers’ U.S. opener with Carl Crawford returning from paternity leave. The Dodgers were hoping to start Clayton Kershaw in this one, but he landed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a back injury.

Tommy Medica played exclusively at first base in his 19-game cup of coffee with the Padres last September, but he looked comfortable enough in the outfield during spring training and batted .333/.389/.561 in 27 Cactus League games. Chase Headley played in only six spring games but his strained calf has improved.

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.