The strong implication in all of the stories about the Jose Guillen HGH investigation is that the Giants kept Guillen off the postseason roster because of the investigation. A source with knowledge of the investigation, however, tells me that this isn’t the case. The decision to keep Guillen off the roster was a baseball decision, borne of his lingering neck injuries and, quite frankly, his ineffectiveness down the stretch. No one at Major League Baseball, my source tells me, “directed the Giants” to keep Guillen off, to use the term from the New York Times story that broke the news. Baseball, the Giants and Bochy all declined comment on this question in the story.
Maybe to some folks this doesn’t matter — Jose is in trouble either way, and I have no basis for questioning the allegations mentioned in the NYT story — but I think it’s an important distinction. Why? because a lot of people have been saying that the HGH thing may have saved Bruce Bochy from himself, and that he would have played Guillen over Ross in the playoffs had it not come down. This isn’t fair to Bochy. He made the right baseball call here, just as he’s made the right calls in just about everything he’s done since the playoffs began. Let’s give the dude some credit for it, no?
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.