David Ortiz is not pleased that his name got pulled into the John Lackey-Nelson Cruz thing

100 Comments

To review:

  • John Lackey got shelled by Nelson Cruz the other day;
  • Lackey makes some whiney comments after the game about how Nelson Cruz was suspended for Biogenesis stuff last year in an effort to discredit his performance;
  • Buck Showalter says that Lackey shouldn’t say such things given that every team has someone you could point a finger at regarding PEDs. Showalter mentions no names.
  • The Commentariat notes that, obviously, David Ortiz is one of those people on Lackey’s team at whom one could, if one desired, point a finger.

The latest: David Ortiz goes apepoop over people — specifically people at MLB Network — mentioning him by name in all of this. From WEEI:

“But then, when they are commenting about what Showalter said, they brought my name up,” he added. “Then one of the guys wanted to say that I got a free pass. And to be honest with you, in this country, nobody gets a free pass. He wants to make it sound like I got a free pass because nobody can point fingers at me directly. But the reason why I got that fake [expletive] free pass that he’s saying is because they pointed fingers at me with no proof. It’s easier to do it that way than having something that they can say, ‘Yes, you did this, you did that.’ My [expletive], I call straight up bull. Let me tell you. You don’t get no free pass here, especially a guy like me. I don’t get no free pass. That free pass B.S. that they want to talk about over there, they can shove it up their [expletive].

On the one hand, one has to roll ones eyes at this because, yes, Ortiz has gotten way, way lighter treatment in the arena of public opinion compared to just about every other player who has ever been associated with PEDs in any way, be it via evidence or innuendo. No one talks about his accomplishments or his team’s accomplishments as being “tainted,” hardly anyone, when discussing his legacy or his Hall of Fame chances, brings up his PED positive in the 2003 survey testing the way they do for Sammy Sosa or the way they did for A-Rod back when the 2003 survey testing was all that was known about his PED history. Ortiz clearly has received much softer treatment than others in this regard.

On the other hand, Ortiz’s treatment, in my view anyway, has been far closer to fair than it has been for anyone else and, if anything, the so-called “free pass” he’s gotten should be the rule, not the exception.

As Barry Patchesky notes over at Deadspin, Ortiz’s name was only made public in connection to that 2003 survey test because an overzealous law enforcement action brought them to light (the test results were supposed to be destroyed). Ortiz took the punishment his crime carried with it at the time (i.e. none) and he has never once tested positive for anything since nor has he been implicated in any of baseball’s various drug scandals. No, one cannot ignore the information that surfaced about him years and years ago, but the fact that we generally don’t dwell on Ortiz’s transgression is a good thing, not a bad thing, and is probably how everyone else who gets caught up in this stuff should be dealt with. Apply the applicable punishment, file it in with every other fact about the guy, but don’t let it be the entire story about the guy and his career.

Ortiz has made a habit lately of throwing public temper tantrums, and it’s a bad look for him even though — as is often the case — he is correct on the merits. So his going off like this is pretty lame. But Lackey bringing up Cruz’s past after Cruz took him downtown was pretty lame too. And people bringing up Ortiz’s treatment by the public, as if Ortiz should have to answer for it in some way, may be the lamest thing in all of this.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
5 Comments

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.