NY Mets: Noah Syndergaard’s free agency outlook changes as reliever
By Mason Smoller
Nothing about Noah Syndergaard is new for the New York Mets. The righty has always had the potential to be a Cy Young winner. That has been evident ever since he made his MLB debut in 2015 at 22-years-old.
What is new is the circumstances for both sides. It has now been two years since Syndergaard was seen on the mound, as he underwent Tommy John surgery prior to 2020.
Additionally, Syndergaard is months away from hitting the open market for the first time in his career. Any comeback attempt in 2021 comes merely as a preview of what he has to offer in 2022. Those two factors alone change things for the Mets when contemplating his future with the organization.
Nevertheless, until a week ago Syndergaard may have been a candidate to receive the qualifying offer. It would allow him to cash in after a one-year prove-it deal, where in 2022 he can show he is back to his All-Star starter form.
However, that scenario may not come to fruition.
Syndergaard the reliever changes things for Mets
Last week, reports emerged that the Mets are expected to use “Thor” in a relief role. It would give the Mets another elite arm out of the bullpen in addition to Edwin Diaz, Aaron Loup, and Seth Lugo.
Not to mention, it would allow Syndergaard to return sooner. He would not need to be stretched out to pitch four-plus innings, rather one or two.
At the end of the day, this decision could come to bite the Mets because of how dominant Syndergaard can be out of the bullpen.
Thor is ready for battle
Over his five years in the majors, Syndergaard has started 118 of 119 games played. He owns a 3.31 career earned run average, with 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Back in 2016, his lone All-Star season, Syndergaard even placed eighth in Cy Young voting.
The point is everyone around baseball knows what Syndergaard is capable of as a starter. But as a reliever, he can return and post ridiculous numbers.
A flamethrower, Syndergaard has been known for consistently throwing high 90s, even hitting 100mphs. Just imagine how high his strikeout rate will rise when throwing a couple of dozen pitches day-to-day vs 100 once a week.
Moreover, Syndergaard is the kind of guy Luis Rojas can use in multiple roles out of the bullpen. He can go out there for a few innings, shut down the eighth to get a close game to Diaz, or even save a game in the ninth. The options are endless because of how good a healthy, almost 29-year-old Syndergaard can be.
The downside comes after 2021
Should Syndergaard return as a top-notch reliever, his value will soar through the roof. Other teams will have a better idea of where Syndergaard is at because of the constant bullpen workload, vs a few starts.
Again, Syndergaard is going to be 29 years old on August 29th. He is at the age where he should be entering his prime. And one thing for sure is a healthy Syndergaard would be able to get a hefty payday no matter where he goes.
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So, as much as having Syndergaard back in a reliever role will help the team now, it may come back to haunt them in off-season negotiations with the Asgardian hurler.