Opening Day Age: 28
2020: DNP (Tommy John Surgery)
Qualifying offer: Eligible
The Stroman vs. Syndergaard situation will be one to watch. Syndergaard will be argued for higher highs, but Stroman’s consistency and lack of a Tommy John on his resume will be something for the Mets to consider.
2019 was Syndergaard’s last season and the third season registering an fWAR of 4.0 or higher, was stellar. 10-8, 4.28 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 3.83 xFIP, 197.2 innings pitched. Despite the win-loss record, Syndergaard was an effective number two pitcher who flashed ace-like abilities on the mound. When healthy, the combination of Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom gave the Mets the chance, not only in the regular season but in the postseason as well.
What made Syndergaard effective was an effective fastball – 98 mph average – and the ability to create strikes with his secondaries. In 2019, Syndergaard amassed a whiff percentage of 24 percent with four of his five pitches – including a 39.6% rate on his slider and a 45.7% rate on his curveball. The ability to use that fastball to create havoc, followed by his slider and curveball wrecked opposing hitters.
Slated to return in June, Syndergaard’s return to the mound will be something to see. Not only will a healthy Syndergaard slot in right behind deGrom in the rotation and turn the Mets into contenders, but to see how his stuff recovers after being away from the game for effectively 18 months. Until then, it’s tough to figure out how Syndergaard will look.
Several factors create uncertainty for this prediction – a loaded 2022 starting pitching market, Syndergaard return and handful of starts, and what could be a large commitment of money. The constant churning of starting pitching will result in several teams needing starters, but how many teams will be in the market for, potentially, a top of the line starter? We shall see.
Prediction: Four-year, $100 million with New York Mets; opt-out after year two.
With Stroman heading elsewhere, I have the Mets retaining Syndergaard on a deal that could also benefit Syndergaard in the long-run. With an opt-out after year two, Syndergaard can reestablish himself and hit the market again at 31 to cash in one more time. Syndergaard gets modest money on a two-year deal or a nice four-year deal.