News flash: Mike Lupica takes cheapshots at A-Rod

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Mike Lupica’s latest column about A-Rod and the Dr. Galea investigation stands as proof that he’s never been involved in a federal investigation:

Come on, there are more things fishy about all this than the old Fulton Fish Market. If the whole thing is so easily explained, if Rodriguez is “at ease” with the whole situation as he told the media in Florida the other day, how come he hasn’t cleared some of this up already, no matter how lawyered up he is.

Sometimes people bring lawyers with them when they talk to the feds
because they want to make sure they don’t incriminate themselves. But
if that’s the case with A-Rod, you’re probably thinking:

Incriminate himself about what?

I’m not the most suspicious person in the world. I still trust my government. I pay my taxes. I don’t think I’m under surveillance. I haven’t joined any militias this week or anything. But I can tell you one thing: if federal agents asked me to come in and talk to them, especially about a drug case, I’d have a lawyer with me no matter how tenuous and benign my connection to the matter.

Maybe the agents on the Galea case are nice young men, but federal drug prosecutions have been known to go off the rails in search of secondary ant tertiary targets pretty quickly. Can’t get the main guy? Get one of his lieutenants. Can’t get a lieutenant? Go after a major user. Can’t make a case against a user? Well, at least we can sift through the records and build a tax case against someone based on what we learned in interviews. No tax case? Well, perhaps we can just throw together false statement case against one of the many witnesses.  Yeah, let’s make it against the high profile dude so it doesn’t look like we’re picking on average citizens.

Against that backdrop — a backdrop that Lupica, having not just fallen off the turnip truck is no doubt aware of — his comments about A-Rod “lawyering up” are nothing more than cynical sensationalism in the service of cheap and easy potshots against a favorite target.

Or as Lupica calls it: Monday.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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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.