Noah Syndergaard's place with the Mets has been in question since last offseason.
An important figure within the Mets organization is insistent on the fact that he's not going anywhere, though.
Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said at this week's GM Meetings that he's turning away teams that come calling regarding the superhero-esque right-hander this winter.
“We have made it very clear that we’re not going to engage on Noah,” Van Wagenen said Thursday. “We have received inquiries, but we have been proactive in letting people know that what I said publicly back earlier this summer, and again in October, that he’s going to be with us going forward.”
That's a far cry from this time last year, when some believed it was a likelihood that Syndergaard would be dealt. Such was the case again near the trade deadline, even -- especially? -- after the Mets bolstered their rotation with the acquisition of Marcus Stroman.
Now, it seems the Mets will head into next season with a rotation that includes both Syndergaard and Stroman as well as National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz. Free agent Zack Wheeler occupied a rotation spot last season and could still be brought back, although he might command more than the Mets are comfortable spending this offseason.
For his part, the 27-year-old Syndergaard made a career-high 32 starts in 2019 but had a career-worst 4.28 ERA to show for it. His fastball velocity was still strong, though, and he was still able to put away hitters at an above-average rate.
Syndergaard made $6 million in 2019 and is in line for an arbitration raise in 2020. He's under team control through the 2021 season before hitting the open market.
Cubs, Baez Talking Long-Term Extension?
Javier Baez showed that his 2018 offensive breakout was for real with a terrific encore campaign in 2019.
Now, the Cubs are considering showing Baez the money.
The two sides are in negotiations on a long-term extension to keep Baez in the city's North Side for the foreseeable future, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. No terms or financials were reported by Wittenmyer.
A raise would be well-deserved for the soon-to-be 27-year-old, who has proven his offensive acumen with two strong years in a row. After finishing second in the NL MVP voting in 2018, hitting .290/.326/.554 with 34 home runs, 111 RBI, 101 runs scored and 21 steals, Baez batted .281/.316/.531 with 29 homers, 85 RBI, 89 runs scored and 11 steals in 138 games last year. He missed the season's final few weeks after suffering a hairline fracture in his left thumb.
The Cubs paid Baez $5.2 million in 2019 and will surely have to pony up more this year, whether by way of an extension or through the arbitration process. Baez is currently under team control through the 2021 season.
The team is also bracing for the potential departure of fellow MVP candidate Kris Bryant after the 2021 season. Bryant may prove more difficult to retain, although the team's lack of substantial commitments beyond the 2021 season might make it possible for them to keep both if desired.
It sounds as though we might know soon how much the Cubs desire to keep the shortstop around for the long term.
Yamaguchi Asks To Be Posted By NPB Club
A new, potentially intriguing name could be added to the free agent mix in the coming weeks.
Yomiuri Giants pitcher Shun Yamaguchi has asked the Nippon Professional Baseball club to post him to Major League Baseball, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, and Morosi says the team is at least considering the request. The 32-year-old has appeared in 427 games in the NPB in his 14-year career.
This past season was Yamaguchi's best, as the right-hander went 16-4 with a 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 194 strikeouts in 181 innings. Over the course of his career Yamaguchi has gone 65-58 with a 3.33 ERA, and he also saved 112 games as a reliever in the early part of his career.
Teams angling toward big fish like Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg might not be thrilled with Yamaguchi -- assuming he's even posted -- as a consolation, but those shopping in the discount aisles may take a hard look at the Yomiuri Giants ace. Given his age and the unpredictability of pitchers making the transition to MLB, Yamaguchi shouldn't break the bank for an MLB team.
We'll see what the Giants decide to do.
National League Quick Hits: Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Phillies "are quietly trying to hammer out" a contract extension with J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto is projected to make a bit over $10 million in his final year of arbitration before hitting the free agent market next winter. Salisbury expects any long-term deal for the catcher to be for 4-5 years and $20+ million per season and for the extension not to kick in until 2021 so the Phillies can maintain some payroll flexibility for this offseason. A long-term contract for Realmuto isn't close to being done, but it sounds like both sides are eager to work something out eventually ... Kenta Maeda has informed the Dodgers that he is unhappy in his role with the club. Each of the last three seasons, Maeda has begun the year in the Dodgers' rotation before eventually shifting to the bullpen late in the regular season and playoffs. The 31-year-old would understandably like to remain in the rotation all season. However, how the team has handled him has worked from a performance standpoint and also made the right-hander cheaper, so it's hard to see Maeda's role changing at this point ... Trea Turner underwent successful surgery on his right index finger. The surgery was to repair the non-displaced fracture that he suffered in early April when he was hit by a pitch while attempting to bunt. This shouldn't have much of an impact on his offseason routine and he's expected to be ready to go for the start of spring training ... Fernando Tatis Jr. (back) is slated to resume baseball activities in December. Tatis Jr.'s rookie campaign ended in mid-August when he suffered a stress reaction in his lower back on a swing, but his rehab looks to be on track. The talented youngster should be on a normal schedule at the start of spring training, provided that he can continue to progress without any setbacks ... Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Jose Peraza is considered a non-tender candidate for the Reds. After showing some progress at the plate in 2018, Peraza backslid in 2019 to a .239/.285/.346 batting line. The Reds value his versatility, but he's due another raise in arbitration and general manager Nick Krall noted when speaking of Peraza that "you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck ... Craig Mish of FNTSY Sports Radio reports that the Marlins "will have some level of interest" in Japanese 1B/OF Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. However, Mish adds that Tsutsugo "could be a secondary type" for the Marlins. The Blue Jays are another club that's also been connected to the soon-to-be 28-year-old who was officially posted by the Yokohama BayStars on Friday ... Patrick Mooney of The Athletic reports that Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama is on the Cubs' radar. The Cubs are looking to improve their center field defense and also are seeking a leadoff hitter and think that Akiyama is a possibility to fill both voids. The 32-year-old batted .303/.392/.471 with 20 home runs and 12 stolen bases over 143 games for the Saitama Seibu Lions in 2019 ... Braves reliever Jacob Webb (elbow) is expected to be ready to go for the beginning of spring training. Webb suffered a right elbow impingement late in the season and missed the Braves' stretch run and the playoffs. The rookie had a fantastic campaign, notching a sterling 1.39 ERA in 36 relief appearances. On the other hand his peripherals were not so shiny -- he had a 4.30 FIP and a 5.15 xFIP. He is likely to be a solid middle reliever for the Braves again in 2020.
American League Quick Hits: Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that Jorge Soler has changed his representation -- switching to Casey Close of Excel Sports Management after previously being represented by ACES. The timing on this change is notable, as Soler has the ability to opt out of the $4 million that he's guaranteed for 2020 and into the arbitration process this winter -- which he is expected to do. In turn, it sounds like the Royals could be interested in discussing a long-term contract extension with Soler, who is under team control through 2021. The 27-year-old is coming off a breakout season where he slashed .265/.354/.569 with a franchise-record 48 home runs and 117 RBI ... Rays prospect RHP Brent Honeywell (elbow) is expected to begin a throwing program in January. Honeywell was an elite prospect on the verge of the majors when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow late in the 2017 season. He underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2018 season. He got back on a mound in late May of 2019 and then fractured his throwing elbow in a bullpen session mere days later. He had surgery to repair the fracture in June and missed the rest of the 2019 season. Honeywell now faces the daunting task of returning after suffering two major elbow injuries, so his prospect status is a total mystery until he proves himself healthy once again. Honeywell was a supplemental second-round pick in the 2014 draft and quickly climbed top prospect charts after making his debut. He has made 78 minor league starts in his career, compiling a 31-19 record and 2.88 ERA across five levels, topping out at Triple-A in 2017. It is possible he could make his major league debut late in the 2020 season, although 2021 seems more likely ... Edinson Volquez has changed his mind on retirement and is working on completing a minor league contract with the Rangers. Volquez had planned to hang up his cleats after making it back in September from a five-month absence due to a sprained UCL. His numbers (6.75 ERA, 10/12 K/BB ratio over 16 innings) weren't good, but Volquez's velocity was fine in the final month and he apparently must have felt better than expected. Volquez figures to make the Rangers' bullpen next season as long as he's healthy.