One of the most unfortunate yet unintentionally hilarious things in baseball over the past several years is everyone playing armchair psychiatrist for Zack Greinke.
Yes, the guy took some time off several years ago with an anxiety issue. But, since then, he’s been talked about as if he suffers from some rare and strange disease that has turned him into a cross between, I dunno, Commander Data and a shambling mass of emotion and nerves rather than some guy who, like a ton of other people including a lot of people you know, have some issues with anxiety and depression from time to time.
You could see some of this chatter when Greinke was going out on the free agent market. People talking about “fit” with him in ways they don’t talk about it with other players. People wondering if he’d be more “comfortable” in Texas as opposed to Los Angeles or if, bless his fragile heart, he had better go back to Kansas City or Milwaukee where everything would be OK.
All of which makes his reasons for picking the Dodgers more fun. From Fox Sports’ Joe McDonnell:
Zack Greinke said that when it came down to choosing the Dodgers over other teams pursuing him, it was all about the money.
The new Dodgers right-hander said that he was leaning toward joining the Texas Rangers before taking the Dodgers’ offer of $147 million over six years.
“The negotiations changed,” he said.
Was it the money that put the Dodgers over the top?
Greinke smiled and said: “That’s what it comes down to at the end.”
Like Bogart said: he’s just like any other man, only more so. In this case: normal and honest.
Now, can we please stop treating Greinke like he’s an alien?
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.