Noah Syndergaard was set to return to the New York Mets sometime in June. Unfortunately, a failed rehab start set him back several more weeks and the big righty hurler is unlikely to be back until sometime in July at the absolute earliest.
Syndergaard missed all of last season due to Tommy John Surgery and is currently working his way back to take the field again. Fans are holding the breath to hope he returns at some point in 2021, healthy and throwing hard.
The timing of this injury for Syndergaard goes much deeper than this season alone. Heading toward free agency this offseason, he may not get the same offers he was once lined up to receive. Someone the Mets should definitely consider keeping around, did Syndergaard and the qualifying offer just become best friends?
The Mets are no strangers to matchmaking the qualifying offer with their players
The qualifying offer is relatively new in Major League Baseball. It began in 2012 and nobody accepted it until 2016. Mets second baseman Neil Walker was one of two players to say “yes” to the $17.2 million dress and return to his old squad. Just one year after Daniel Murphy turned the Mets down, history was made!
Players were originally less willing to accept this one-year offer. However, as years have gone on, many have decided it was best to bet on themselves having an even better campaign after accepting. This past winter, Marcus Stroman became the second player in Mets history to accept the deal. It awarded him $18.9 million for the 2021 season.
Stroman is a great comparison to Syndergaard. Essentially the same age Thor will be this offseason give or take a few months, he missed the 2020 season after opting out. Months later, he opted into a big payday; and I don’t mean a King Sized candy bar either.
The two have a few other similarities. When they’ve been at their best, the pair have looked like aces. However, each has suffered some major injuries—but who hasn’t?
Stroman and Syndergaard are two extremely confident men on the same team from completely different parts of the country. They couldn’t be more different in a lot of ways yet they match pretty well. Each gets a lot of hype. Some would argue neither has lived up to it.
Syndergaard will be lucky to make 15 starts this year. Realistically, a dozen would be satisfying.
What does this mean for his free agent case? Are teams going to be willing to buy a guy coming off of Tommy John Surgery?
The Mets have the edge over everyone else with the qualifying offer. Syndergaard can only benefit from accepting what should be around the same $18.9 million, likely even more, for a season. Whether he stays with the Mets beyond that will have a lot to do with how he pitches in 2022.
Of course, the Mets also need to be willing to even extend this kind offer to Thor. If he returns this year and pitches poorly, do they simply let him walk away?
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It’s tough to imagine a front office with Sandy Alderson in it giving up on Syndergaard so easily. The least they can do is introduce him to the qualifying offer and see if he bites. Regardless of how this year goes, I think the Mets get a nibble.