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Category Archives: Noah Syndergaard

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Robby Cano? Who The Hell Knows!

I remember clearly when Robinson Cano was a free agent after the 2013 season. Somebody had photoshopped Cano in a Mets hat, and we all laughed because we knew that at the age of 31 and coming off a Top-5 MVP season with an OPS of .899, that Robinson Cano wasn’t going to no Mets.
Now, five years later at the age of 36 with three more All-Star appearances and one performance enhancing drug suspension under his belt, Cano is much closer to playing his next game as a New York Met as he has ever been.
Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?

Succinct summary by someone involved regarding the growing Cano/Mets speculation, at least to this point: “Smoke, not fire.”
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 27, 2018

My first thought when I heard that the Mets were in on Cano was that this has absolutely no chance of happening. If the Mets weren’t in on Cano when he was 31, why would they go anywhere near him at age 36 with the same AAV on his contract and five seasons to go? Even in the Mets’ world with the alternate sky, that doesn’t make any sense.
Cano also breaks two general rules that I have these days: No more players past their prime living off reputation, and no players that will block the progress of younger players. Cano could break both rules as he is not only old, but would prevent Jeff McNeil from having an everyday job at second base. The other downside of Cano is that his penchant for making every ground ball look like Sunday softball wouldn’t sit well with the Johnny Hustle crowd.
But then people started to speculate on other players coming back to the Mets from Seattle to make the contract worth their while, and then Jay Bruce possibly going the other way … then it started to get intriguing. But Brodie has to remember that Seattle is in a position of desperation. If the Mariners want to re-imagine their team, that comes at a cost. If the Mets are going to take on another aging player for five seasons, it has to be worth the Mets’ while to do so. And the possibilities that are swirling could work in the Mets’ favor. But …
Feb 21, 2018; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano poses for a portrait during media day at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
… only if everything in this deal breaks right for the Mets. It can’t be just about bringing in Cano … that’s not enough. Here’s what needs to happen for this to work out for the Mets, in my humble estimation:
Get Seattle To Pay For A Chunk Of The Contract
This one is a no-brainer. Cano has $120 million left in his deal over five seasons. There isn’t enough salary for the Mets to dump back to make it even. And it doesn’t make sense for the Mets to pull a Giancarlo Stanton/Yankees type trade to have a 36-year-old block second base for five more seasons. So Seattle has to pony up at least $50 million for this to work.
Jay Bruce Must Go The Other Way
Another no-brainer. Sorry, Jay. We’ve had some good times. But again, if the Mariners expect the Mets to help them out with $70 million of salary for an older player, then Seattle has to help the Mets out a wee bit. Taking Bruce back will help the Mets clear some glut from the first base/corner outfield position, and it would enable the Jordan Patterson signing to actually be part of something larger. (Go figure.) If the Mariners insist on taking, say, Juan Lagares instead of Bruce, then Bruce must be part of another deal (say, for Marc Melancon) before this Cano trade happens. Either way, shedding Jay Bruce’s paltry by comparison $28 million in salary is a good start.

But it’s not enough, hence my next condition:
Mitch Haniger Must Come Back From Seattle

Ryan Braun told us @MLBNetworkRadio in ST Haniger going to be a "star" RT @jcrasnick OF Mitch Haniger going to Arizona. Not sure on return.
— Casey Stern (@CaseyStern) July 31, 2014

Ryan Braun wasn’t lying. Haniger came into his own in 2018 with a .366 OBP and an .859 OPS while driving in 93 runs and … most importantly … playing in 157 games. While he’s primarily a right fielder, enough shuffling can be made to get Haniger’s important bat in the Mets lineup. Between Haniger and Cano, who had a .374 OBP in 80 games last year, you have the opportunity to transform a lineup that has been moribound in recent seasons. (Don’t believe me? Just ask Jacob deGrom.)
Jim Dowd of MLB Network suggested Mallex Smith coming back in a potential deal for Cano, and while he’s an emerging star, there’s no way the M’s would let go of somebody they just acquired. Dowd and everyone else also loves Edwin Diaz, who would immediately become the closer for a team that also needs a bullpen. Diaz had a fantastic season overall for the Mariners with an ERA below two and a WHIP of 0.79. Diaz is also entering his age 25 season. Nothing to sneeze at.
Sep 2, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger (17) high fives teammates after scoring a run against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
But with relief pitching being so volatile from year-to-year, it would be a shame to waste this one chance at a roster transforming move by pinning all the hopes of this trade on a reliever who, after seeing him enough times in Seattle over the past two seasons, is far from automatic. If Diaz is the main player in this trade, and let’s say Justin Dunn and/or Andres Gimenez goes the other way, and Diaz is a bust … then what? You’re stuck with five seasons of Robinson Cano and you traded Dunn/Gimenez/both to do it. That’s not a risk I want to take. I’d rather spend the money on the reliever, even if you have to swallow an extra year’s salary to do it. Because it’ll be much easier to acquire Haniger and pay for a closer than acquire Diaz, hope for the best, and pay for a bat. Unless that bat belongs to somebody named Bryce or Manny, the results are going to be much dicier.
Todd Frazier Must Be Traded
As mentioned earlyer one of the downsides of a Cano trade is blocking Jeff McNeil from playing second base. He was solid at the position last season while impressing with the bat. That bat needs to be in the lineup every day. If McNeil is going to be pushed back into a utility role, then this deal can’t happen. Seems like a strange hill to die on, but I’d rather this lineup be completely left-handed and McNeil play a position other than second base regularly than watch Todd Frazier look at a three straight fastballs down the middle to end every single game while McNeil gets turned into some bastardized version of Brandon Inge. As long as Peter Alonso, Amed Rosario, and a right handed hitting catcher not named something that rhymes with Cravis are in the lineup, McNeil, Cano, Haniger, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto should do just fine until Yoenis Cespedes … hopefully … makes his grand return.
Noah Syndergaard Can’t Go Anywhere
Sep 14, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Mets Noah Syndergaard (34) reacts at the final out of the fifth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
See? I can bring Noah Syndergaard into a blog post as a non-sequitur too. But I don’t think Noah has zero to do with this conversation. Because if Brodie goes into the Winter Meetings in December with the frame of mind to improve the team, and he thinks that making the team older by bringing in Cano with all of the other conditions laid bare above as part of the process, then Brodie can’t turn around and say that trading Syndergaard is the next prudent course of action. So if this wacky trade is going to happen, a wackier trade can’t.
Say one thing for a trade which would bring Robinson Cano and his contract here: It would be bold. This franchise needs bold. This franchise needs a breath of fresh air. This franchise and the players who collect paychecks from it need a signal that things are going to be serious, and not the same old same old. This trade would certainly do it, and that’s not a bad thing as long as the Mets benefit from it short term and long.

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Report: Manuel Margot, Austin Hedges Linked to New York Mets in Noah Syndergaard Rumors

The Noah Syndergaard watch continues for the New York Mets, who have been listening to offers for the 26 year old righty this winter. The team most frequently linked to Syndergaard has been the San Diego Padres, who made a push for the righty over the summer only to get rebuffed by the Mets. The two sides have apparently been discussing names again, and baseball writer Dan Federico mentioned a few of those players on Twitter earlier this week. Check out full tweet below.

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Both Margot and Hedges are in the majors already, but neither player has distinguished themselves. Hedges, 26, batted .231 with 14 homers and 37 RBI’s in 91 games for the Padres in 2018 while drawing strong reviews for his defense and ability to call a game. There is a bit of hope that Hedges’ home/road splits (.215/5/17 with a .642 OPS in spacious Petco Park vs. .247/9/20 with a .778 OPS on the road) indicate he could breakout in a new ballpark, but that is not guaranteed. Margot, 24, batted .245 with eight homers and 51 RBI’s in 141 games for the Padres this season but has the ability to play center field well. Federico also shared that the Mets like some of the Padres’ pitching prospects and that the Padres have no interest in trading top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr for Syndergaard.
Sep 12, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; San Diego Padres catcher Austin Hedges (18) hits a single against the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
While Hedges and Margot are nice pieces to consider adding to the Mets, if they are the headliners in a Syndergaard deal that will set the franchise back years. The Mets do have needs at catcher and center field, but the Mets could find better fits in free agency while retaining Syndergaard. If you are dealing a talent like Syndergaard, the return needs to be something that can knock your socks off to the point where it makes perfect sense, like sending him to Chicago for Kris Bryant. Dealing Syndergaard to San Diego for Margot, Hedges, and two pitching prospects is the type of trade that the Oakland A’s made. For a team in the New York market, that is unacceptable.

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New York Mets 2018 Season in Review: Starting Pitching

Now that the New York Mets’ 2018 season is over, we are going to take a look at the year as a whole over the next several days. We will break down the offense, starting pitching, relievers, coaching staff, and declare a team MVP along the way. We continue our season review today with a look at the Mets’ starting rotation.
The New York Mets are a team built on their starting pitching, and that was very evident in 2018. The rotation was pretty consistent for most of the season, with all five primary members making at least 20 starts with the top four (Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler) combining to start 116 games. In most cases, that should have guaranteed a winning year for the Mets, but that was not the case due to a lot of circumstances out of the starters’ control. With that being said, let’s look back at the years for the Mets’ starting pitchers:
Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jacob deGrom: Any discussion of starting pitching for the Mets has to begin with Jacob deGrom, who established himself as the team’s ace once and for all in 2018. deGrom was the best pitcher in baseball this season, leading the league in ERA (1.70) while allowing more than three earned runs only once in his 32 starts. The Mets were pathetic behind deGrom, resulting in a 10-9 record despite his brilliance, but deGrom set career highs in innings pitched (217), strikeouts (269), and WHIP (0.91). deGrom could have won 20 games easily with a competent team, but he will likely have to settle for the Cy Young instead, which isn’t a bad consolation prize.
Grade: A+
Noah Syndergaard: Syndergaard was the Mets’ Opening Day starter when deGrom got a late start in spring training, but it was a weird year for the fireballing righty. The numbers were consistently good for Syndergaard, but he always struggled to get throughout games in the first half before landing on the disabled list with a finger issue that cost Syndergaard seven starts. Syndergaard took a bit to get going after he returned, but he still lead the team in wins with 13 and pitched two complete games in September, including his first career shutout on the final day of the season against the Miami Marlins. The overall stat line (13-4, 3.03 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 155 strikeouts in 154.1 innings pitched) was still very good, so Syndergaard could actually be a prime breakout candidate if he avoids fluke injuries in 2019.
Grade: B+
Steven Matz: For the first time in his big league career, Matz made it all the way through a season. Matz only had one trip to the disabled list all year and it was for 15 days, allowing him to set career highs in starts (29), innings pitched (154), and strikeouts (152). The 5-11 record isn’t pretty, but Matz did have a rough patch in the middle of the season that caused his ERA to spike from 3.31 on July 7th to 4.60 on August 16th. Matz was great the rest of the way, pitching to a 2.44 ERA over his final seven starts but only had an 0-1 record to show for it thanks to poor support from his teammates. Either way, the Mets have to be encouraged that Matz made it through a full season and pitched effectively, giving them hope that he can be a very strong fourth starter in 2019.
Grade: B
Zack Wheeler:
Sep 17, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) pitches during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Did you remember that Zack Wheeler didn’t even make the team out of spring training? It’s true, Wheeler’s first start of the year came with AAA Las Vegas, but he got a chance to join the rotation against the Miami Marlins, who he dominated in the second week of the season. The Mets ended up sticking with Wheeler for the rest of the year despite some early struggles. Things started to turn around for Wheeler towards the end of June and early July, making Wheeler a prime trade candidate, but no one wanted to buy into the idea that Wheeler was a new pitcher. That worked out to the Mets’ benefit as Wheeler was outstanding in the second half, going 9-1 with a 1.68 ERA in 11 starts, striking out 73 batters in 73 innings pitched. Wheeler ended up putting together his best big league season, going 12-7 with a 3.31 ERA in 29 starts, as he finally put his tools to good use under the tutelage of Dave Eiland.
Grade: A
Jason Vargas: The Mets’ free agent pickup of Jason Vargas in February looked shrewd at the time, giving the team a veteran lefty capable of eating innings. That backfired quickly as Vargas was a disaster in the first half, going 2-6 with an 8.60 ERA in nine starts and landing on the DL twice. The Mets stubbornly stuck with Vargas in the second half, and he rewarded their faith by pitching much better after the All Star Break. Over his final 11 starts of the year, Vargas went 5-3 with a 3.81 ERA, holding opponents to a .223 batting average against him. Vargas allowed opponents to bat .344 against him in the first half, so the Mets have to hope that second half Vargas shows up for the start of 2019 as their fifth starter.
Grade: D
Corey Oswalt: The only other guy to get more than five starts for the Mets in 2018 was rookie Corey Oswalt, who filled in for Vargas and Syndergaard at times in the rotation. Despite a lack of overpowering stuff, Oswalt was surprisingly effective as a starter, going 2-3 with a 4.72 ERA in 12 starts. A few stinkers spiked Oswalt’s ERA, but he showed enough moxie to think that he could be a capable fill in if any of the Mets’ regular starters need a trip to the DL in 2019.
Grade: C
The Rest: The rest of the Mets’ starts were made by Seth Lugo (5), the departed Matt Harvey (4), P.J. Conlon (2), Drew Gagnon (1), Jerry Blevins (1), and Chris Flexen (1). Harvey was abysmal as a starter, getting bumped to the bullpen and eventually off the team when he couldn’t adapt to pitching in relief. Lugo was effective as a starter, but he proved more valuable as a reliever, a role he should carry over into 2019. The rest were nothing to write home about.
Grade: D

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