Last year Ruben Amaro said he didn’t care about walks, he cared about production. Maybe his apparent indifference to them is based on his failure to understand how they work.
That’s the takeaway from an appearance he made on the air during yesterday’s Phillies game. He was talking about how Jimmy Rollins is about to pass Mike Schmidt as the all-time Phillies hit leader. Amaro noted that Schmidt had nearly 900 more plate appearances than Rollins yet, magically, their batting averages aren’t very different despite the identical hit totals. The transcript of his comments via Crossing Broad:
“Yeah, we were checking it out. In fact Schmitty was in the booth yesterday when we were talking about it, and, um, I think it’s about a thousand difference in, ah, plate appearances. Pretty amazing. But their batting averages aren’t that different, which is kind of… weird. I don’t quite understand it.”
One would think that how walks, plate appearances and at bats interact would some something within the comprehension of a major league general manager, but maybe Amaro is more of a big picture guy and he leaves that complex stuff to subordinates.
In reality: I fail to believe that a major league GM doesn’t understand how walks affect at bat totals. I TOTALLY believe that Amaro would say such a thing to drive Phillies fans crazy, though. He’s the GM most likely to troll people, and it’s not even close.
Anyway, here’s the audio. Listen to the commentary added by Kyle from Crossing Broad at the end:
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.