New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard is coming off of the unknown of Tommy John Surgery. Fortunately, the club now has an estimated time of arrival.
Heading into 2021, his status for the year is still up in the air, as while fans remain hopeful he could break camp with the team, there is a possibility he could still be rehabbing into the start of the year.
Earlier this week on interviews with WFAN Radio, Mets’ skipper Luis Rojas and Team President Sandy Alderson each gave the first real updates on Noah in several months.
Rojas stated that Syndergaard is:
"“On schedule or maybe a little bit ahead of schedule” in terms of his recovery timeline. Rojas went on to say that “(Noah is) in a good spot right now, physically and rehabbing from his surgery.”"
Alderson followed him up following Rojas by saying that the month of June is their reasonable expectation for his return and stated that physically he is in great shape, joking that:
"“I think he’s ready right now for like a Spartacus competition.”"
While that is good news in terms of his recovery, fans may be disappointed to know that the likely hood is that Syndergaard may not be ready for opening day with the Mets, but 15 months is the typical recovery from Tommy John Surgery for a pitcher.
There remains the possibility he could shock us and return sooner than expected. There are outliers like pitchers such as Zack Duke or Josh Johnson, who undergo the surgery and made returns to the major leagues in less than a year.
However, as Mets fans saw with Zack Wheeler, who ended up missing two entire season recovering from the surgery, it may be best not to rush Syndergaard back too early. After all, we need him to pitch in October more than in April.
Regardless, this all means that the Mets need to have contingency plans to fill his role in the rotation, either temporarily or potentially for the entirety of the season.
In house, the Mets could slot reliever Seth Lugo into that spot, let either Steven Matz or Spring Training invitee Jerad Eickhoff compete for it. They could even call up a prospect like Thomas Szapucki to round out the rotation.
Those may be gambles, however, and the Mets could be better served by bringing in a more established starter on a short term deal for 2021. Veteran pitchers like Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, or JA Happ are all on the market and could be brought in on a one year deal to fill the spot.
Regardless of what direction they take, the good news is that Mets fans can expect to see Noah Syndergaard take the mound by midseason in 2021, and hopefully, help lead them to the playoffs.
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While it is important to have contingency plans if things go south, this is a very promising update to receive regarding the status of one of the centerpieces of the Mets rotation.