Not a solution, but a BARELY acceptable workaround.
Once I get my playlist for the day all set, I highlight everything and change the media type from "Podcast" to "Audiobook". I can still speed up the playback and All my synchronization works.
BTW - even with today's update in the Podcast app, every time I mark a podcast as "Mark all as played", any sync or app update resets the "Mark all as played" setting.
PLEASE, Apple, I don't mind some new things, but at least give us something that works *better* than what we had before.