Noah Syndergaard posted a video that begs the question – are the Mets dropping the ball on one of their prized stud’s rehab – again?
Noah Syndergaard, shirtless and gleening with sweat, posted a video on his Instagram account (below) that cuts two ways.
At first glance, there’s a ray of hope and optimism – “Good, we need him in that number two slot behind Jacob deGrom – go, Noah!”
Looking again, though, don’t we need to wonder where the Met’s training and rehab staff is, not to mention if team doctors have given the okay for Syndergaard to be throwing at a good clip a full five months before he is scheduled to rejoin the team?
Noah Syndergaard: Out Of The Barn And Loose?
The “tell” that something is not quite right comes with the news stories, like this one from the New York Daily News, in which there is no mention of a Mets official – not Sandy Alderson, not Luis Rojas – no one with the usual uplifting comments to support Syndergaard’s progress in rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
Oddly, Steve Cohen is mentioned, but only in response to a glad to have you aboard Tweet Noah Syndergaard had sent to his new boss and team owner.
“Enjoyed our conversation Noah, today,” Cohen tweeted in response to Syndergaard’s video. “Good luck with the rehab, and can’t wait to see you back on the mound next year.”
If anything, we can surmise that Steve Cohen assumed his underlings had given the okay for Syndergaard to be throwing ahead of schedule – just like the rest of us did.
But not so fast because this is an area the Mets have historically been weak in. Even more alarming is that while we’ve heard about strengthening the farm system, the analytics department, and the drive to make the Mets fun again – nary a word has been said about the notoriously poor job the Mets have done in monitoring injured players.
Syndergaard: Who Is The Employer And Who Is The Employee?
I suppose there are two ways to look at the question. On one level, the Mets as the employer decide to treat their employee (Syndergaard) as a professional who knows his body better than anyone. Therefore he is not apt to do anything rash that will jeopardize the team or himself.
The Mets would hope so, but the issue ranges beyond just that.
Because on the proverbial other hand, the Mets are looking at paying Noah Syndergaard, who is in his third and final arbitration year, a minimum of $10 million to pitch for the team in 2021.
Syndergaard, Mets fans will recall, has already had a brushback with the Mets about a duel of wills regarding a precautionary MRI the team had scheduled.
Syndergaard balked, insisting he was fine, and while a subsequent MRI revealed no damage, the team came off as subservient and powerless to the will of their player.
Noah Syndergaard And The Mets: Is This Another Test Of Will?
It gets tricky, though, because technically, Syndergaard is unemployed at this point. The Mets have until December 2 to tender him a contract for 2021 – which almost surely, they will.
So, in theory, Noah Syndergaard can tell the Mets to take a hike if they object to the rehab plan he has set for himself. This would be unfortunate, of course, and that’s not how these things typically play out.
It’s a two-way street between the team and the player, and, after all, Syndergaard is foolish if he doesn’t take advantage of the best medical experts in the field – all for free.
Also, in play, however, is the fact this is Syndergaard’s “walk year,” meaning when the final out of the 2021 World Series is recorded, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
From that perspective, together with the competitive juices that always flow within Thor, Noah Syndergaard is doubly anxious to get back in the game, giving himself a chance to put up some big numbers so he can be next year’s Trevor Bauer in the open market.
Did The Mets Get Caught With Their Pants Down?
It appears so, but given all the hoopla this past week, we can assume that Noah Syndergaard was on the back burner and not front and center as a priority.
If that’s true, though, the Mets need to add another bullet point to their overall plan that improves the organization – taking charge of their players when they are rehabbing from an injury and away from the team.
Given the Era Of Good Feelings upon the Mets now, there will likely not be anything further that comes to public attention between Noah Syndergaard and the team.
At the very least, however, there should be a red flag raised indicating a weakness that needs to be corrected organizationally.