Daryle Ward, still alive apparently, suspended 50 games for amphetamines

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Did you know that Daryle Ward was still kicking around baseball?  Me neither! But he is. And now he’s been suspended for 50 games after a positive amphetamines test. From the press release:

Free agent Minor League first baseman Daryle Ward has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for an amphetamine.  The suspension of Ward is effective immediately upon his signing with a Major League organization.

Given that he turns 37 this year, his last stint in the majors was in 2008 and his time last season was split between independent ball and double-A, that last sentence implies really, really strongly that the suspension will never be served.

Also suspended: free agent pitcher Dustin Richardson, who last played in the bigs for the Red Sox in 2010. Since then he’s been in the Marlins and, most recently, the Braves’ systems, where he has not exactly distinguished himself. His suspension reads like the Physician’s Desk Reference:

Free agent Minor League left-handed pitcher Dustin Richardson has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for an amphetamine, Letrozole and metabolite, Methandienone metabolite, Methenelone and metabolite, and Trenbolone and metabolite.

Impressive!

No word on whether or not either Ward or Richardson will be invited to Brewers’ Fan Fest.

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.