John Smoltz says the Mets’ young arms are “way better” than the Braves’ 1990s rotation

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John Smoltz raised some eyebrows recently when he did what no old ballplayer — especially no old Hall of Famer — ever does: he said the kids today are better than he and his teammates were!

Smoltz, talking to the Daily News about the Mets’ young arms Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler and how they compare to the Braves’ core of 1990s aces:

“They’re way better,” Smoltz said of the Mets in comparison to his Braves rotation, which featured five elite pitchers all under the age of 30, including Hall of Famers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. “They’ve got more talent than we could ever have.”

Smoltz noted, of course, that talent isn’t everything and that health is a huge factor which determines whether a talented pitcher becomes a great pitcher. And of course how you adjust matters too. If Greg Maddux tried to pitch when he was 33 like he did when he was 23 he would’t have had the same sort of success. And no one, of course, is suggesting that the Mets pitchers are as good, overall, as three Hall of Fame pitchers eventually were. This is a talent assessment.

Still, pretty notable and admirable to see an old guy give props to young guys like this. It’s so rare to hear baseball players do that, even though in every single athletic pursuit, the raw talent and physical ability generally improves with time. It’s a fact that no one on that Braves staff — and hardly anyone in baseball history — had the kind of stuff that Jacob deGrom has, for example. Whether that turns into a great career, it’s too soon to say. But you gotta recognize talent.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.