Thor spurns the Mets, leaving them to face Ragnarok in their rotation
Noah Syndergaard's departure puts the Mets' starting rotation in dire straits. Plus, the first names of the club's search for a manager are revealed.
What’s Up with the Mets? 💭
Noah Syndergaard rejected the qualifying offer and officially signed a one-year, $21 million contract with the Angels
According to multiple reports, the Mets were not given the opportunity by Syndergaard and his agent to match the Angels’ contract offer
New York will receive a compensatory draft pick with Syndergaard’s departure
Robinson Canó went 1-for-4 with an RBI and walk in his latest Winter League Game
The last of the superheroes, and where that leaves the Mets 📝
An era has officially come to an end in Flushing.
With the sudden departure of Noah Syndergaard, who had been in the Mets organization since the end of 2012, the last of New York’s greatest superheroes walked away from Citi Field. What was once roster featuring a who’s who of personality, talent, nicknames and bravado is getting harder and harder to recognize as time marches forward with Jacob deGrom being the only player still remaining from the 2015 pennant season.
There was “The Dark Knight,” Matt Harvey, whose star burned bright and fast and was ultimately traded away in the midst of the 2017 season. Then, the following year, it was “Captain America,” David Wright, who played his final inning with the club due to spinal stenosis. And now there’s “Thor,” who at his best brought thunder on the mound and dropped his hammer on his foes coming in the form of a wicked curveball, who has now cast himself asunder.
And where does that leave the Mets?
Despite there being major question marks surrounding his health and how many innings he would be able to provide them — even at full strength — in 2022, the Mets were counting on Syndergaard to be a part of this rotation that already needed help to begin with. With him leaving, this now puts the team in a situation where they need to fill at least two spots in their starting rotation and acquire additional depth. The Mets will have to make a decision on Marcus Stroman and compete for his services in the open market if they want to bring him back, which seems more imperative today than it already did before. They also have major question marks around every other pitcher that is currently on the roster.
Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, but disappeared after the All-Star break with an apparent mystery UCL injury that only came to light at the end of the year, Taijuan Walker was an All-Star in the first half and one of the league’s worst pitchers in the second half, Carlos Carrasco spent most of his season on the IL and struggled mightily when he made it back to the big leagues, Tylor Megill was great as a rookie but threw a career-high in innings after not pitching at all in 2020 and David Peterson, Joey Luchessi and Jordan Yamamoto are all coming off of season-ending injuries. Prior to Syndergaard leaving, there was already quite a bit of work to do, and now this only exacerbates the issue at hand.
First off, Stroman very likely needs to be a priority for this team. While some may not like his demeanor off-the-field, he consistently delivered for the team on the mound in 2021 and was as reliable a pitcher as they had all season. Other pitchers I expect that they’ll look into would be Jon Gray who, while he doesn’t nearly have the ceiling of Syndergaard, could be a viable replacement as he’s had some very solid years pitching in Colorado of all places. And while I don’t expect anything has changed from the trade deadline in regards to his desire (or lack thereof) to come to New York, the Mets need to at least make a grande overture to the alter of Max Scherzer and see if there’s anything they can do to get him to come here. Ultimately in this game, money talks and the Mets have a lot of it to spend so it’s at least worth a shot, even if it only turns out to be a Hail Mary. Kevin Gausman and Carlos Rodón could also be options, though neither has a long track record of success, have had injury issues and could be on the end of pretty big contract offers.
Outside of the obvious choices, I also think the Mets will be active on the trade market looking at starters making any modicum of money on small market, low-budget teams such as Frankie Montas, Chris Bassett and Sean Manaea on the A’s, Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo on the Reds, Germán Marquez on the Rockies or Kyle Hendricks on the Cubs, just to name a few.
Regardless of who it is, Billy Eppler and the Mets have a ton of work to do with this rotation, even moreso today than was true just 24 hours ago. There’s no guarantees to what they’ll do but the one thing we know for sure is this: the man known as Thor will not be walking through that door in 2022.
Hot Stove 🔥
The Blue Jays signed RHP Jose Berrios to a seven-year, $131 million extension (Sportsnet)
The Twins are looking into potential trade scenarios as well as an extension for CF Byron Buxton (The Athletic)
Rockies SS Trevor Story will reject his qualifying offer, making him a free agent (Denver Post)
The Yankees have inquired about a trade for A’s 1B Matt Olson, though no significant talks have occurred as of yet (YES)
While he is still expected to re-sign, the Braves and 1B Freddie Freeman are at odds negotiating over a sixth year in a potential contract offer (Heyman)
The Angels may now turn their attention to free agent RHP Justin Verlander (Heyman)
Rays manager Kevin Cash and Giants manager Gabe Kapler were officially named the Manager of the Year award winners
Prospect Watch ⚾
Yesterday’s stats in the Arizona Fall & Dominican Winter Leagues
Brett Baty (3B, No. 2 prospect): 1-for-4, 3 RBI
Wilmer Reyes (2B, unranked): 1-for-4
Connor Grey (RHP, unranked): 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K