Wanna buy some All-Star Game-themed wine?

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN — I was walking through the hotel where the player interviews and media availabilities and all of that noise and decided to give it all a miss. News flash: the players are all happy and honored to be here. They’re soaking it all in, etc.

But over at the hotel bar was something interesting:

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Yup, the Midsummer Classic now has a wine. I inquired about it from Shawna Keen, here, and got the info:

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This is new for Major League Baseball, as it’s the first time they’ve actually licensed a wine. You may recall that there were some baseball player-themed wines a few years ago like “Manny Being Manny Merlot” and things like that, but that was not officially licensed. And, if you were one of the people who tasted some of that stuff, you will be happy to know that it’s completely different wine. The old stuff was well-intentioned, but it tasted pretty vile.

Shawna told me that the All-Star Game wine (and some other, team-themed wines coming soon) is sourced from a grape grower in California that also sources many of California’s top wineries including BV, Duckhorn, Cakebread, and Merryvale. They’re obviously selling this to people interested in the logos and the novelty of it all, but they want the wine to be something you’d actually drink.

And of course, I’m not the sort who is content to take people’s word for this sort of thing, so I put it to the test. First, the sniff test:

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Then the taste:

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The verdict: pretty darn good. I don’t think you’d want to give it to that smug cousin of yours who took three trips to Napa Valley and now acts like drinking anything under $50 a bottle is beneath him, but for the non-unctuous among us, it’s pretty darn good.’

If you’re interested in it, go check out MLB’s wine page. Which, yes, is a thing.

So, beer down and now wine down. Anyone got any whiskey around this place?

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.