Selig talks about the Wilpons, contraction, expanding the playoffs and more

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Bud Selig was on SiriusXM with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo yesterday, and he held forth in his usual Budly manner on the topics of the Mets financial situation, that contraction nonsense, realignment, expanded playoffs and the Barry Bonds trial.  The highlights:

  • The most newsworthy thing of the interview was Bud’s statement that the Mets did not ask major league baseball for a second loan last fall. This contradicts reports that the Mets sought additional assistance from the league after its initial infusion of $25 million. Selig said that no second request was ever made. There have since been reports that the team was working with banks in an attempt to secure additional loans, but according to Bud, they have not approached the league;
  • Russo asked Selig if he ordered Wilpon to hire Sandy Alderson as his general manager, which some have suggested. Selig denied ordering such a thing, but said he shared with Fred his “intense feelings about Sandy.”
  • Selig on the contraction nonsense that won’t die, most recently the one in Forbes: “I’m not sure where that came from.  We have not discussed contraction at all.”  Selig was also critical of the Forbes piece about franchise values, wondering where they get their info given how the owners tend to keep it a secret. Between those two topics, it’s safe to say that Selig is not a fan of Forbes.
  • Selig was more open to the idea of realignment of some kind, hoping that it gets done before his time as Commissioner is up in 2012, but said it’s not on anyone’s radar on the moment.
  • Expanded playoffs, however, are on the agenda and could happen as soon as next year. I agree it’s inevitable. I also hate the idea, but no one asks me about such things.
  • Finally, Selig was asked if he’s following the Barry Bonds trial. He said no, and that he considers the steroids stuff to be a thing of the past:

I’m more concerned with now and what’s gone on the last five years.  I’m damn proud of where we are.  We’ve cleaned up the sport, banned amphetamines, by the way.  And so, Chris, we’re in a position where, you know, I’m testing for HGH in the minor leagues.  We have the severest penalties of any sport.  I had George Mitchell do all that for me but now we’ve moved on and there’s just nothing more to say.”

And thus spake the Commissioner.

Matt Harvey has a 13.19 ERA since coming back from the disabled list

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Matt Harvey‘s season was mostly a loss due to extended time on the disabled list. He’s been given a chance, however, to end the season strong and make a case for himself in the Mets’ future plans. Unfortunately, he has been unable to make that case. He was shelled again last night, and his late season opportunity has been a disaster.

Last night Harvey gave up seven runs on 12 hits and struck out only two batters in four innings against a Marlins team that, until facing him anyway, had been reeling. It was his fourth start since going on the shelf in mid-June and in those four starts he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, on 32 hits in 14.2 innings, for an ERA of 13.19. In that time he’s struck out only eight batters while walking seven. His average fastball velocity, while ticking up slightly in each of his past four starts, is still below 95. Back when he was an ace he was consistently above that. His command has been terrible.

Injury is clearly the culprit. He had Tommy John surgery just as he was reaching his maximum level of dominance in 2013. While he came back strong in 2015, he was used pretty heavily for a guy with a brand new ligament. Last year he was felled by thoracic outlet syndrome and this year a stress injury to his shoulder. Any one of those ailments have ended pitchers’ careers and even among those who bounce back from them, many are diminished. To go through all three and remain dominant is practically unheard of.

Yet this is where Matt Harvey is. He’s 28. He’s still arbitration eligible, for a team that is, to put it politely, sensitive to large financial outlays. While his 4-5 start opportunity to end the year may very well have been seen as a chance to shop Harvey to another team, his trade value is at an all-time low. It would not be shocking if, on the basis of his recent ineffectiveness, the Mets considered non-tendering him this offseason, making him a free agent.

Someone would probably take a chance on him because famous names who once showed tremendous promise are often given multiple chances in the big leagues (See, Willis, Dontrelle). But at the moment, there is nothing in Harvey’s game to suggest that he is capable of taking advantage of such a chance. All one can hope is that an offseason of rest and conditioning will allow Harvey to reclaim at least a portion of his old form.

Noah Syndergaard is concerned about climate change

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Mets starter Noah Syndergaard has been on the disabled list for most of the season so it’s not like “sticking to baseball” is an option for him. The man has a lot of time on his hands. And, given that he’s from Texas, he is obviously paying attention to the flooding and destruction brought by Hurricane Harvey and its fellow storms in recent weeks.

Last night the self-described “Texan Republican” voiced concern over something a lot of Republicans don’t tend to talk about much openly: climate change and the Paris Agreement:

The existence of Karma and its alleged effects are above my pay grade, but the other part he’s talking about is the Trump Administration’s decision, announced at the beginning of June, to pull out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement on climate change mitigation. Withdrawal from it was something Trump campaigned on in 2016 on the basis that “The Paris accord will undermine the economy,” and “put us at a permanent disadvantage.” The effective date for withdrawal is 2020, which Syndergaard presumably knows, thus the reference to Karma.

Trump and Syndergaard are certainly entitled to their views on all of that. It’s worth noting that climate experts and notable think tanks like the Brookings Institution strongly disagree with Trump’s position with respect to tradeoffs and impacts, both economic and environmental. At the same time it’s difficult to find much strong sentiment in favor of pulling out of the Paris Agreement outside of conservative political outlets, who tend to find themselves in the distinct minority when it comes to climate change policy.

I’m not sure what a poll of baseball players would reveal about their collective views on the matter, but we now have at least one datapoint.