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Brian Cashman signs letter endorsing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh

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A lot of people tell me to stick to sports and to leave politics out of it. I get that and I have tried to ratchet back a bit here compared to the way I used to be. I mean, on Twitter I’m still a full-on obsessive and I’m probably insufferable, but in this space I’ve made an effort to limit it to stories where there is a clear, relevant connection between the social/political matter at issue and baseball.

Like any addict, though, I’m prone to backsliding. When you offer up a story about the GM of the New York Yankees signing a letter endorsing Donald Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee it’s like putting a bottle of Colonel Kwik-E-Mart Kentucky Bourbon in front of Lionel Hutz. From the Daily News:

The Yankees GM signed a letter endorsing Brett Kavanaugh, the conservative stalwart who if confirmed by the Senate will further shift the court to the right in the midst of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s sudden departure from the bench . . . Cashman and Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Prep at the same time in the 1980s, along with current Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

That last sentence is a reminder that, for all of our talk about ours being a classless society, the country is run, more or less, by a group of people who went to the same half dozen prep schools and who, if they all met up at once, could fit into a Double-A baseball stadium.

Anyway: don’t tell me to stick to sports when Brian Cashman won’t.

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.