Mike Lupica is happy to have a new reason to rip A-Rod

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Thumbnail image for Alex Rodriguez homer.jpgFun times in the Daily News today, as Mike Lupica takes A-Rod to task over the Dr. Galea story, sarcastically asserting that, apparently now that Rodriguez is no longer a post-season choker and all of that, apparently he doesn’t feel the need to come clean. Many of you may agree with him.

But read the column closely, and it’s quite obvious that Lupica is not complaining about A-Rod’s reticence with law enforcement or Major League Baseball or the Yankees.  He’s angry because A-Rod won’t talk to the press.  Really, go look: his big beef is that A-Rod dodged a question about the Galea charges before yesterday’s game, and from that he launches into a thousand-word piece, at the end of which he actually lists the questions he wants A-Rod to answer.

Which is rather crazy.  I mean, I have no idea what the relationship was between Dr. Galea and A-Rod and I have no clue what Rodriguez was and wasn’t prescribed.  But I do know that federal charges are coming down against Galea, and in those charges athletes are being called out. Anonymously for now, but not for long.  Clearly, at some point, those athletes named will be required to testify about Dr. Galea, likely under some sort of immunity deal, but certainly under penalty of perjury.

In light of this, if A-Rod answered the questions Lupica had for him, he’d be putting himself at a significantly higher risk of legal jeopardy.  Any lawyer in the country would advise their client not to give press conferences about such topics given what’s happening right now.

A-Rod’s decision not to answer Lupica or any other reporter’s questions about the subject is a very wise one, borne of savvy legal advice, not, as Lupica believes, some arrogance resulting from Rodriguez’s newfound status as postseason hero and clutch god. But it’s Lupica, and even if he realizes this he’s going to ignore it

Why? Because that’s just what he does.

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.