Jake Peavy grooved one to Barry Bonds

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Before we get to that, some followup from Mike Bacsik, who was accused by former teammate Tim Redding yesterday of grooving home run 756 to Barry Bonds. Bacsik tweets:

For everyone on my page that needs a denial; I didn’t try to give up the homerun. I was crappy enough to do it without trying . . . If somebody would
have asked me, what teammate will say you tried to give up a homerun?
After laughing my answer would have been Tim Redding.

I still don’t know or frankly really care of Bacsik served up a fat one to Bonds, but (a) I like his sense of humor; and (b) he’s not the first guy to slam Tim Redding for being something of a horse’s ass.

In other news — old news, anyway — Jake Peavy doesn’t need anyone to accuse him of grooving one to Barry Bonds. He admitted it freely a couple of years ago:

“Obviously,
everyone in the ballpark knew that was going to be Barry’s last
at-bat,” Peavy recalled. “Me and Barry being buddies, I wanted to take
care of him in his old ballpark. I wanted to give him as good a
send-off as he could have. That being said, I couldn’t throw cookies up
there all night because we had to win. But we were able to get a 9-2
lead, and I’m facing Barry knowing this was going to be his last at-bat.

“At that point, I knew we were going to win that game and he knew I
was going to give him a good pitch to hit. He didn’t have to guess what
was coming: a fastball. He took a good shot at it and just missed it.
We had a good little exchange there. We would’ve done that whether it
had been on the field or not. But he wanted the fans to be a part of us
paying our respect to each other.”

Mickey Mantle was grooved one near the end too.  And I’m not sure I have any problem with that kind of stuff. One of the things that
separates baseball from the lesser sports is that there is more room for
friendship and camaraderie, even on the actual field of play. The way I see it, if it’s only a once-in-a-blue-moon thing, and if it’s not affecting the outcome of a game, no harm, no
foul.  I appreciate that I may be in the minority on that, but that’s nothing new.

(thanks to lar for the Peavy link)

Noah Syndergaard on Mets extending Jacob deGrom: ‘Pay the man already.’

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March has marked contract extension season across Major League Baseball. Just in the last week, we have seen Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Brandon Lowe, Alex Bregman, Ryan Pressly, Mike Trout, Eloy Jiménez, Blake Snell, and Paul Goldschmidt sign extensions. Nolan Arenado, Luis Severino, and Aaron Nola also notably signed extensions during the offseason.

One name strikingly absent from that list: Mets ace Jacob deGrom. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is coming off of a season in which he posted a 1.70 ERA with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks across 217 innings. It’s the lowest ERA by a qualified starter since Zack Greinke‘s 1.66 in 2015. Prior to Greinke, no pitcher had posted an ERA of 1.70 or lower since Greg Maddux in 1994-95 (1.56, 1.63).

deGrom is earning $17 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility going into the 2020 season. He will turn 31 years old in June, but is an obvious extension candidate for the Mets, who have built arguably their most competitive team since 2015, when the club lost the World Series in five games to the Royals. Thus far, though, the Mets and deGrom haven’t been able to get anywhere in extension talks.

deGrom’s rotation mate Noah Syndergaard is watching. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Syndergaard said, “I think Jake’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth. I want them to keep him happy so when it does come time for him to reach free agency, he stays on our side pitching for the Mets. I just think they should quit all the fuss and pay the man already.”

Syndergaard added that the recent extension trend around baseball — and deGrom’s lack of an extension to date — sends a message. He said, “I think so, yes, because of what you see in what’s going on in baseball right now. If there wasn’t a trend of other guys getting contract extensions, then I don’t know what the circumstance would be. But you see Chris Sale, Verlander getting extensions. I think it’s time Jacob gets one too.”

Part of the equation behind the recent rash of extensions is the stagnation of free agency. Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel — two of baseball’s better pitchers — have gone through almost an entire spring training without being signed. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado didn’t find new homes until late February. Free agents in their 30’s are largely being underpaid or otherwise forgotten about. Extensions represent financial security for young and old players alike. Syndergaard himself can become a free agent after the 2021 season, so if deGrom’s prospects improve, then so too will his, at least without knowing the details of the next collective bargaining agreement which will be put into place ahead of the 2022 season.