Cardinals/National League manager Mike Matheny choosing his own guy, Adam Wainwright, to start tonight’s game over Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw got quite a few Dodgers fans (and basically non-Cardinals fans) angry.
But what does Kershaw actually think about being passed over for the start in favor of Wainwright, who had a slightly worse ERA and many more innings in the first half?
Well, here’s what the reigning Cy Young winner said when asked yesterday:
I didn’t have a reaction. I kind of assumed. Adam had the best first half and Mike was his manager. You’re going to pick your guy. So, I completely understand. If they had asked me if I wanted to do it, I would have said, “Of course, I want to do it. That’d be awesome.” But it’s not something that’s on my bucket list. Every year, there’s just been somebody better in the first half, so that’s the way it works.
Last season NL manager Bruce Bochy picked Mets rookie Matt Harvey over Kershaw to start the All-Star game, which Kershaw was actually pretty upset about publicly, saying “it hurts” (among other things).
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.