Former professional baseball writer Murray Chass created a bit of a stir last year when he wrote a couple of blog posts saying that Mike Piazza clearly did steroids. His reasoning: backne. As in Piazza had a lot of it when he played, it cleared up when drug testing kicked in and that means Piazza was a ‘roider.
And maybe he did do steroids. I have no idea. Chass doesn’t either, however, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to beat that drum. Today he unloads on Piazza for not talking to the media during his recent appearances at Citi Field, and presumes that’s because he doesn’t want to answer steroids questions.
Except he already has answered them. Here’s Piazza in the New York Post last year:
For the record, Piazza says he was a clean player. “Absolutely” is the
word he used. He claims he is not on the now infamous list of 104 failed
steroid tests from the survey phase in 2003. “No, not that I know,” he
Maybe he’s lying. Like I said, I have no idea. But if so, it’s going to take more than Murray Chass’s continued innuendo to establish it. It’ll take some sort of evidence, the kind which Chass freely admits he does not have.
And, it should be noted, the kind of evidence mainstream writers — the kind Chass used to be — constantly tell bloggers they need to have before talking about things as innocuous as trade rumors, let alone steroids allegations.
I suppose one response is to say “who cares? It’s just Murray Chass.” But Murray Chass still has a Hall of Fame vote for some reason, so I think it’s worth highlighting this sort of thing when we see it.
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.