Derek Norris suspended for the rest of 2017 for domestic violence

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Major League Baseball just announced that free agent catcher Derek Norris, most recently with the Tampa Bay Rays, has been placed on the Restricted List and will be ineligible for the remainder of the 2017 season, including the postseason. The discipline is being imposed based on the results of the league’s investigation into domestic violence allegations leveled at Norris by his ex-fiancee earlier this year. Norris has agreed not to appeal the discipline.

Back in June Norris’ ex-fiancee, Kristen Eck, implied in an Instagram post that Norris assaulted her two years ago. Then, a few days later, she expounded on the incident in a personal blog post, claiming that on the night of October 20, 2015, she woke up to find Norris on the phone with another woman. Eck said she took the phone away from Norris to try to confront the other woman over the phone. Norris, she says, approached her from behind and put her in a choke hold. When she tried to get away, he grabbed her by the back of her hair to pull her back to him and then held her by her upper arms as “he tried to drunkenly explain that he wasn’t talking to another female.” Norris denied the allegations soon after Eck’s story went public.

Based on the league’s statement, Major League Baseball didn’t buy that denial, which Norris continues to stand by. Rob Manfred:

“My office has completed its investigation into the allegation that Derek Norris violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence Policy on October 21, 2015. Mr. Norris cooperated throughout the investigation, including submitting to an in-person interview with MLB’s Department of Investigations. After reviewing the evidence, I determined that Mr. Norris’s conduct warranted discipline under the Joint Domestic Violence Policy. While Mr. Norris denies the allegation against him, he and I have agreed that he will spend the remainder of the 2017 season away from the game and that he will forfeit $100,000 of his remaining termination pay from the Tampa Bay Rays, which will be donated by the Rays to one or more charitable organizations focused on preventing and treating survivors of domestic violence. The charitable organizations will be selected by the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association.”

Norris, who was released by the Rays at the end of June, will be unable to play either major league or minor league baseball, nor will he be able to sign a contract with a Major League organization until after the World Series. And of course, he’s out $100,000. Given that he has not signed with a team before now and, as of today, would not have been eligible to participate in the playoffs even if he had, the suspension itself is really more symbolic than substantive. The league takes its offenders as it finds them, however.

Report: Justin Verlander agrees to 2-year contract with Mets

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Justin Verlander agreed to a two-year, $86.7 million contract with the New York Mets, reuniting the AL Cy Young Award winner with Max Scherzer and giving the Mets a high-profile replacement for Jacob deGrom.

The contract is worth $43,333,333 per season and includes a vesting player option for 2025 at $35 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there was no immediate announcement.

Verlander leaves World Series champion Houston to step in for deGrom, who left New York after nine seasons when he agreed to a five-year, $185 million contract with Texas last week. It also puts Verlander on the same team as Scherzer after they played together with the Detroit Tigers from 2010-14.

Verlander’s storied career was in question after he had Tommy John surgery in 2020. But he made an impressive return this season, becoming the 11th player to win the Cy Young Award at least three times.

The 39-year-old Verlander went 18-4 with a major league-low 1.75 ERA in 28 starts for the Astros. The right-hander also got his first career World Series win in Game 5 as Houston beat Philadelphia in six games.

Verlander declined a $25 million option five days after helping the Astros to the franchise’s second championship, making him a free agent.

The nine-time All-Star broke into the majors with Detroit in 2005 and stayed with the Tigers until he was traded to the Astros in August 2017. He won his first Cy Young Award in 2011 and also took home AL MVP honors after going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA in 34 starts.

Verlander agreed to a $66 million contract with Houston covering 2020 and 2021, then hurt his elbow. After pitching one game over the previous two seasons, Verlander became a free agent and re-signed with the Astros for a $25 million, one-year deal that included the option.

Verlander is 244-133 with a 3.24 ERA and 3,198 strikeouts in 17 seasons. He also won the 2019 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 34 starts.