This is both kinda fun and kinda depressing. It’s kinda fun in the “heh, look at that relic from the mid-90s.” It’s depressing in that it shows you just how awful amoral and ambitious politicians can be.
In this case the amoral and ambitious politician is current Chicago mayor and former Congressman/Obama staffer/Clinton staffer Rahm Emanuel. The data is a recently released memo from when he was working for Clinton in the mid-90s. The Chicago Sun-Times got it from the Clinton Library. In it he gives the president all kinds of advice about how to score big political points out of triangulating the issue of crime and drugs. And it is ALL political points, of course. He doesn’t seem to care too much about the issue. He cares everything about the politics of the issue. Which I assume is pretty common among people like him.
The baseball part is his advice about how the Clinton White House should nose itself into baseball and drugs. Not steroids — no one cared about that yet — but about players abusing recreational drugs. Specifically, Daryl Strawberry:
In one 1995 memo, Emanuel even suggested that the president jump into the fray over New York Yankees star Darryl Strawberry testing positive for drugs. He called for Clinton’s drug czar, Lee Brown, to meet with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and demand that Strawberry perform community service.
Brown publicly stated that the Yankees “have struck out by signing Darryl Strawberry.” But Steinbrenner said Strawberry was “worth saving” and he played for the Yankees for four years.
Pro tip: if George Steinbrenner comes off as the most reasonable guy in your interaction, you got some serious problems.
Enjoy Rahm, Chicago.
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.