I rip reporters when I think they go off track on the steroids business, most recently with Mark McGwire, so it’s only fair that I point out when someone stone-cold nails it, as Buster Olney did with what he wrote today regarding McGwire (and Tiger Woods):
Why would Tiger Woods need to say he’s sorry out loud? Isn’t that
something that should really be reserved for his family? If Tiger Woods
wanted to bare his soul for the benefit of the public he felt he
betrayed in some way, he’d take all and any questions. If he doesn’t
feel that way … isn’t this whole process all a charade concocted for
the consumption of the media that must be fed? . . .
. . . Mark McGwire has made it clear that he doesn’t feel like his use of
performance-enhancing drugs helped him as a player, and whether we
agree with that or not, this is his stance, which he reiterated
Wednesday. So why would he apologize out loud? Really, it was fairly
evident that his remorse is built in disappointing his father, his son,
Tony La Russa, and others close to him.
But McGwire did his
thing, and now Tiger Woods will follow, in the confessors’ version of
the media perp walk. None of it speaks well of where we are in 2010, in
this business of truth-seeking.
McGwire had to be at least somewhat forthcoming simply because he was asking for a job, and MLB probably wouldn’t have approved of it if he didn’t say something,* but I think he’s said all we can expect of him. But Buster is absolutely right that this ongoing drama, such as it is, is more about the media’s sense of self-entitlement than it is about remorse, real or imagined.
*Woods, on the other hand could easily issue a press release that says “I have made apologies to those who are entitled to them, and will say nothing further about my family or my personal life in public from now on. I will resume playing golf in the ThusandSuch Invitational this April. Any questions that aren’t about golf will be ignored. Thanks.” In fact, I hope he does something like that and transforms this into a full-blown pro wrestling-style heel turn. What will people do? He’s Tiger Woods. Golf needs him more than he needs it right now.
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.