I mentioned this in the recaps, but it’s worth a standalone mention: Bruce Bochy went sorta nuts with his bullpen last night.
He used ten pitchers in all, even though he got six innings from starter Jake Peavy. After that Cory Gearrin, Josh Osich, Hunter Strickland, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Michael Broadway, George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla all made appearances. Only Osich threw as many as 20 pitches. Only Romo and Kontos otherwise threw double-digit pitches. Five of the nine relievers faced just one batter. Affeldt threw two pitches. Lopez came in only to issue an intentional walk.
The scary part? Bochy has 14 relievers at his disposal right now, so he could’ve been even crazier with it.
Perhaps this is all a function of the Giants being in a close game they had to win (though they didn’t win it). But it doesn’t go crazy like this without September’s expanded rosters. Without them, Bochy and the Giants would have made different decisions and would’ve had to rise or fall based on a regular-looking baseball team, just like they did from April through August. We should want teams still nominally in a playoff race to have to play regular baseball, not this sort of musical chairs nonsense.
As I and many others have suggested on a number of occasions, baseball needs to change the expanded roster rules. If teams must be allowed to look at 15 more players in September than they do all year, only allow them to use a couple of them in any given game. Expand the rosters to 40, sure, but make sure that, say, only 27 can used in any given contest. Or 30. I don’t know. I’d prefer just 25, but I’ll allow for some leeway here.
Just don’t make fans have to sit through nine pitching changes in a nine inning game. That’s just awful.
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.