The New York Mets have suffered several losses to their pitching staff this offseason. In my first article, I focused on why the Mets would miss Marcus Stroman, who left to sign with the Chicago Cubs. In this article, I explain why Syndergaard’s departure will be impactful in a negative way to the Mets.
Syndergaard did not pitch much for the team in 2021; because of his recovery from Tommy John surgery, he only pitched two innings during the regular season in late September. Because of his minimal time spent on the mound, it is hard to get a sense of where Syndergaard is as a pitcher going forward. Is his velocity greatly diminished? Can he still throw his offspeed pitches (sinker, changeup, and slider) with the same amount of zip, while still maintaining the high velocity sports writers and analysts associated with Syndergaard's breaking pitches?
Therefore, because of these important question surrounding him, Syndergaard is a huge question mark entering the 2022 season, but the Mets will feel his absence nonetheless. First of all, Syndergaard brought an intimidating presence on the mound. Syndergaard has even noted himself to ESPN that he tries to be as “intimidating” as he possibly can. This competitive ferocity sets the tone of the at-bat. Part of what made Syndergaard a dominant pitcher before his injuries was his ability to make hitters uncomfortable in the batter’s box.
Noah Syndergaard carries much risk entering the 2022 season, but the Mets will miss his toughness on the mound.
Whether it meant throwing hard or pitching deliberately inside, Syndergaard rarely attempts to be cute with hitters, opting to blow them away with his vicious velocity. For a team with championship aspirations, it always helps to have a pitcher on the mound who consistently sets out to throw hitters off their game.
Second, the Mets also invested a lot of time into his recovery. Ever since Spring Training of the 2020 season, the team has supported Syndergaard through every step of his surgery, rehabilitation, and recovery. The 2022 season was going to truly mark Syndergaard’s return.
After essentially two seasons of being unable to perform, Syndergaard is now looking at the most important season of his career. If he performs well, he most likely lands a nice, long-term contract. If he sputters or flames out, then Syndergaard’s day as an above-average starter is gone. If Syndergaard thrives in Anaheim, the Mets would have spent two years helping to rehabilitate a pitcher, yet would see none of the return on investment.
Unlike Stroman’s departure, Syndergaard’s carries more of a risk, and it could end up working in the Mets favor. However, Syndergaard’s intangibles and potential to return to form make it tough for Mets fans to see him in another uniform. Many fans still revere Syndergaard and what he brought to the team. If he ends up thriving in Anaheim, it’s going to leave Mets fans with a bad taste in their mouths.