Cris Carter said he gave Alex Rodriguez a talking-to

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This is fun. Ex-NFL player Cris Carter ran into A-Rod down in Florida when A-Rod was getting ready to come back this year and they had a little chat. Carter said that he was concerned about PEDs and A-Rod’s P.R. problems and how his example impacts children and stuff. Then it got good. He said this on the Mike & Mike show:

“And he went into, Well, you know, I’m fighting for my life, and I basically just interrupted him and said, ‘Your life as a baseball player is over with. Now what you decide to do with the rest of your life — that’s the decision that you have to make. You and a number of other athletes have lost a whole generation of kids. Now, they’re going to be experimenting with PEDs because you guys have been successful doing it. What are you going to do to try to repair that?’ ”

Carter went on to tell A-Rod: “That’s really what your legacy should be. What you decide to do is totally up to you. I don’t care. I’m nobody — I’m just a fan. But I thought I should tell you that. You have an opportunity — and it could start today — that you could have the greatest legacy as far as PEDs, kids, high school athletes.”

I don’t think A-Rod or any big time athlete doing PEDs has nearly the impact on kids doing them as do the habits of other kids and the competitive environment in which they find themselves (i.e. if the incentive exists for them it will be way stronger a push than anyone’s example might be). But Carter is right about where A-Rod is in the grand scheme of things.

He’s not “done” in the same way Bill Madden keeps saying he’s done. He will likely still play baseball. I also believe that, yes, A-Rod has every right and incentive — in in some ways responsibility — to fight the charges against him. If for no other reason than because the precedent of MLB leveling crazy 200+ game suspensions for first time violations of the JDA is insane.

But his time as a big impact player and famous superstar is over. And it would be a good idea for him think about his future more than his present. Any move calculated to work on his present image, as opposed to his legal status alone, is probably wasted effort.

Noah Syndergaard on Mets extending Jacob deGrom: ‘Pay the man already.’

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March has marked contract extension season across Major League Baseball. Just in the last week, we have seen Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Brandon Lowe, Alex Bregman, Ryan Pressly, Mike Trout, Eloy Jiménez, Blake Snell, and Paul Goldschmidt sign extensions. Nolan Arenado, Luis Severino, and Aaron Nola also notably signed extensions during the offseason.

One name strikingly absent from that list: Mets ace Jacob deGrom. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is coming off of a season in which he posted a 1.70 ERA with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks across 217 innings. It’s the lowest ERA by a qualified starter since Zack Greinke‘s 1.66 in 2015. Prior to Greinke, no pitcher had posted an ERA of 1.70 or lower since Greg Maddux in 1994-95 (1.56, 1.63).

deGrom is earning $17 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility going into the 2020 season. He will turn 31 years old in June, but is an obvious extension candidate for the Mets, who have built arguably their most competitive team since 2015, when the club lost the World Series in five games to the Royals. Thus far, though, the Mets and deGrom haven’t been able to get anywhere in extension talks.

deGrom’s rotation mate Noah Syndergaard is watching. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Syndergaard said, “I think Jake’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth. I want them to keep him happy so when it does come time for him to reach free agency, he stays on our side pitching for the Mets. I just think they should quit all the fuss and pay the man already.”

Syndergaard added that the recent extension trend around baseball — and deGrom’s lack of an extension to date — sends a message. He said, “I think so, yes, because of what you see in what’s going on in baseball right now. If there wasn’t a trend of other guys getting contract extensions, then I don’t know what the circumstance would be. But you see Chris Sale, Verlander getting extensions. I think it’s time Jacob gets one too.”

Part of the equation behind the recent rash of extensions is the stagnation of free agency. Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel — two of baseball’s better pitchers — have gone through almost an entire spring training without being signed. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado didn’t find new homes until late February. Free agents in their 30’s are largely being underpaid or otherwise forgotten about. Extensions represent financial security for young and old players alike. Syndergaard himself can become a free agent after the 2021 season, so if deGrom’s prospects improve, then so too will his, at least without knowing the details of the next collective bargaining agreement which will be put into place ahead of the 2022 season.