This reads like a crime thriller. It’s the story of Porter Fischer, the Biogenesis employee who took Tony Bosch’s notes and records, turned them over to the Miami New Times and unleashed the biggest PEDs scandal since BALCO. He has allowed the Miami Times to tell his story.
All kinds of unseemliness here. A large part of it involving MLB’s investigators approaching Fischer after the story broke, alternating threats and payment if he’d provide the records to Major League Baseball and agree to assist their investigation:
On February 25, Fischer finally decided to meet with two MLB investigators, both ex-NYPD cops. They started with the carrots: They’d pay Fischer just to talk. If things worked out, maybe they could even move him to a gated community. And there would be justice for the cheaters.
Fischer replied, “I don’t give a shit about you or your ballplayers. This is about self-preservation to me.”
So the ex-cops switched tactics: If someone were to sue you, they warned, it could be expensive. MLB could indemnify him from damages. “I’m not worried about court,” Fischer countered. “I’m worried about a bullet in my head.”
There is all manner of weirdness here: Fischer comes off a bit, well, dramatic. He claims that, after the story broke, his copies of the Biogenesis documents were stolen from his car and the next thing he knows Anthony Bosch is agreeing to cooperate with MLB. The implication being that, directly or otherwise, the documents he stole from Bosch were stolen back by Bosch.
But Fischer isn’t exactly operating objectively here. He says “the people running Major League Baseball are the biggest scumbags on Earth as far as I’m concerned.” For getting in bed with Tony Bosch, Fischer would have us believe, but a lot of it also seems to based on the fact that he’s not a part of the deal. Understandable, I guess, especially if what he says — that MLB at one point offered him $125,000 for his documents and cooperation — represents the kind of deal Bosch got.
It’s hard to know who or what to believe here. One wonders, though, if the lawyers for any players suspended in all of this would call Fischer in their defense case. And whether that would help or hurt.
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.