While the Mets continue to search for starting pitching, Noah Syndergaard remains their knight in waiting. An Opening Day delay can only help.
The Mets are off and running in their not so secret desire to sign this year’s most sought after starting pitcher, Trevor Bauer.
Normally, Syndergaard would not be counted on to come North with the team for Opening Day, now scheduled for April 1, 2021, against the Washington Nationals in our nation’s capital.
But already, there is talk that COVID-19 will again impact our National Pastime, resulting in a delayed opening of Spring Training for at least 4-6 weeks. In turn, any delay will have a domino effect on MLB’s regular and postseason schedule.
This can be nothing but good news for the Mets and Syndergaard.
Noah Syndergaard is a workhorse, and he caused a stir last month when he released a video of himself throwing off a pitcher’s mound with apparent ease and no discomfort.
As you’ll see in the video, Syndergaard was not fooling around, so be sure to turn the volume up to hear that refreshing sound of the ball cracking on the catcher’s mitt.
The Mets Will Not Throw Caution To The Wind
Much like his former teammate Matt Harvey, Syndergaard can be expected to lobby and hound the Mets doggedly to speed up the rehab process.
Burned before by mishandled rehab and player injuries generally, the Mets are not likely to satisfy Syndergaard’s return to action until their medical staff gives the go-ahead, with or without Trevor Bauer.
A delay in the regular season that limits the number of games played to 120-130 contests greatly relieves this tension between the Mets and Syndergaard.
Mets And Syndergaard Moving To Another Stage
Things are bound to get even more interesting between the Mets and Syndergaard as the season moves along.
Entering his third and final arbitration year, Thor, as he is known to Mets fans, will become an unrestricted free agent for the 2022 season.
Syndergaard, who will then be only 29, will join the Class of 2022 Free-Agent Starting Pitchers as one of the top-billed, if not the top-billed pitcher on the list, similar to the status Bauer enjoys this year.
The Mets will offer a substantial raise from last year’s $9.7 million to Syndergaard, and it’s not likely arbitration negotiations will reach a hearing by a mediator.
Much depends, of course, on Syndergaard’s ability to pitch effectively in 2021. Ironically, a shortened season represents a roll of the dice; given the reduced number of starts, he will have to prove his value to the Mets and other potential suitors.
However, the exchanges between Mets owner and Syndergaard last month are interesting as goodwill poured from both.
Cohen, in a response Tweet to Syndergaard’s enthusiastic welcome to the Mets Tweet to the new boss, returned this note:
“Enjoyed our conversation Noah today. Good luck with the rehab, and I can’t wait to see you back on the mound next year.”
Noah Syndergaard: It’s Time To Raise The Bar
Some will argue, and at times I am tempted to join in, that Noah Syndergaard has a lot to prove before he joins the elite status of starting pitchers – like fellow teammate Jacob deGrom, and Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander – all of whom will join him as free agents in 2022.
Still, Syndergaard’s career stats show a record of seventeen games over .500 (47-30) and a respectable 3.31 ERA.
This gives credence to the belief that there is more to come from a pitcher who once stunned then Mets manager, Mickey Callaway, with a 100+ MHP pitch on the first day and his first toss of Spring Training.
In any event, the likely delay of Opening Day from April 1 to May 1, or even beyond, is music to the ears of Mets fans who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new era in team history under the leadership of Steve Cohen, and the subsequent return of Thor.
However, it’s incumbent on the Mets to guide and administer their bucking horse’s timely rehab, ensuring no hiccups are preventing a Mets 2021 season to remember.