Asked on Wednesday about the smoldering debate over the use of foreign substances by pitchers, Alonso claimed that MLB intentionally squeezed baseballs before star pitchers like Gerrit Cole hit the free market and then cushioned the ball this season with a group of talented hitters poised to become free agents.
“I had no idea Pete was a conspiracy theorist,” Scott said with a laugh Friday before New York opened a series against San Diego.
The league has not commented on Alonso’s accusation.
Scott said he doesn’t think the theory holds up, saying home offices and their analysis teams are smart enough to normalize performance in changing offensive environments.
“The way teams appreciate and evaluate performance is relative to levels, so we’re not going to be fooled by offense going up or down,” he said. “We’re going to look at the players versus the way the league plays. So it wouldn’t have any influence on how players are rated or paid. “
MLB informed teams in February that it plans to tone down baseballs slightly for the 2021 season after a rise in home runs for years. In 2019, 3.6% of home plate appearances ended in a homerun, a number that has fallen to 3.1% this year.
Asked about the sticky substances debate, Scott said uncertainty over future application presents challenges for scouts and analysts. The league is set to start punishing pitchers soon – a drastic mid-season change after generations of staring at all but the most egregious offenders.
“It’s tough,” Scott said. “We don’t really know what guys are doing, even inside our own organization versus outside, or if they’re doing anything. “
The first-year general manager said it didn’t matter what MLB decided to do, as long as it was clear and enforceable.
“We’re really just talking about the app,” he said. “It’s always been written in the books that you’re not supposed to put stuff on baseballs, so that’s really how they communicate with umpires and what the expectations are. And I think, to be fair to the umpires, there has to be clarity as well. ”