Noah Syndergaard’s career with the Mets is all but over. He’ll reach free agency after the 2021 season, and the Mets will make no effort to re-sign him.
Assuming all goes well with his rehab, he’ll return to make a cameo appearance in 2021 before entering the free-agent Class of 2022.
But much like Matt Harvey, the Mets have seen enough from Noah Syndergaard to know the fantasy is not worth the reality, and the time has come to part company.
Thor: Unleashed And Out Of Control
Mets fans will recall Noah Syndergaard’s first outing in a preseason game following his absence for most of the 2017 season due to injury.
And how the Met’s new manager Mickey Callaway (“I’ve never seen anything like it”) was blown away when Syndergaard unleashed from the get-go consecutive pitches measuring 100, 100, 100, 90, and 100 mph on the gun.
The Mighty Thor.
Fast forward to the Mets 2020 Spring Training. Noah Syndergaard makes three starts, striking out an eye-popping eleven of the thirty-one batters he faced – with ease. Wow. Surf’s up. Let’s Go Mets.
Rewind to February, though, when Noah Syndergaard proudly proclaimed to Newsday, “In previous offseasons, I was like, ‘I’m going to figure it out on the mound during spring training,’ whereas now I spent the whole month [of January] in LA and was able to get on the mound twice a week.”
Twice a week, huh? Pretty impressive? – not so much.
It’s Not About Fault – It’s About The Result
We’ll probably never know the answer, but there seems to be a fundamental question surrounding both the Mets and Noah Syndergaard.
Did the Mets authorize or at least know about the self-prescribed throwing program Syndergaard initiated during the past offseason?
Or, was this Noah Syndergaard, no excuse me, Thor prepping himself to unleash that 100+ mph first pitch of the 2020 preseason – which he did.
I don’t pretend to know the answer, but I can sense the Mets are nearing the end of their patience with their exceptionally talented right-hander.
The experiment with “Thor” has failed. Jacob deGrom, if he wished, can easily reach 100+ on the gun over and over again. He chooses not to, however, because he is a pitcher, who understands the sole reason he’s getting paid is to get hitters out.
Noah Syndergaard: Take Your Place Alongside Nolan Ryan
In a different time and place, the Mets were confronted with a pitcher, much like Noah Syndergaard. He could, as Bruce Springsteen said, “throw that speedball by you and make you look like a fool”.
Baseball fans know the full story and how the Mets traded The Ryan Express away and the seven no-hitters that followed with a seat in the Baseball Hall Of Fame.
The same fate is not likely to greet Noah Syndergaard, but only the future will reveal and seal how baseball history books are written.
The Future With A Twist
All logic and sensibility point to the Mets allowing Noah Syndergaard the opportunity to ride out the final days of his career in a Mets uniform for the handful of starts he should be able to make next season.
But depending on how you look at it, there’s a chance the coronavirus may override everything.
Negotiations between MLB (the owners) and the Player’s Association are taking place on the question of “service time” during the league’s shutdown.
The players are arguing that, for instance, Noah Syndergaard’s service time is reduced by the postponement of games that can’t be played – and therefore – he’s entitled to an extension before he reaches free agency, in effect pushing his free agency out another year.
That’s crazy, but you never know as MLB and the team owners will be licking their chops and willing to do almost anything to get those asses in the seats and TV profits rolling in.
Noah Syndergaard: It Was A Good Ride – But
How many times can we count fate intervening in our lives? Most often, it happens when we’re not even looking.
The season-ending injury suffered by Noah Syndergaard and the Mets (let’s not forget them) represents a crossroads in which both parties can forge a new path to their future.
Handled gracefully by both the Mets and Syndergaard, the entire “transaction” can be seamless to all of us.
Brodie Van Wagenen has a full year plus to replace Thor as a number two behind deGrom. And Syndergaard has the same time on the calendar to plot and elect his future as a starting pitcher with a team in the big leagues.
Most divorces end with the resolution fault lies with both of us. And that’s been the case here. Let it be.