Luke Jackson
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Braves re-sign Luke Jackson

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The Braves inked right-handed reliever Luke Jackson to a major league deal on Sunday, per a team announcement. Jackson was designated for assignment by the club last Wednesday and elected free agency; with his return to Atlanta, he’ll take the place of fellow reliever Luiz Gohara.

The 26-year-old righty struggled in his first handful of big league games this season, issuing three runs on two hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings. His performance in Triple-A Gwinnett has been significantly more impressive, however: Jackson twirled a 1.69 ERA, 4/2 BB/9 and 14.3 SO/9 over 21 1/3 innings out of the rotation and bullpen. He should provide some stability to a bullpen that’s amassed a middling 4.04 ERA and 1.3 fWAR since the start of the year.

Gohara, meanwhile, is expected to rejoin the team’s Triple-A rotation in Gwinnett. His major league stint was scattered across a few sporadic appearances in May and June — culminating in an underwhelming 6.89 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 across 15 2/3 innings — and it appears he’d be better served with regular playing time in the minors until the Braves have the space and opportunity for him in the big leagues.

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.