One of the most surprising developments during the leadup to the 2019 MLB trade deadline has been the Mets’ apparent thought process regarding the future of their starting rotation. With GM Brodie Van Wagenen’s moves over the last few days, it’s now basically impossible to predict what they’ll end up doing by the time the final bell rings on Wednesday.
Going into the month, all indications were that they’d trade pending free agent Zack Wheeler for the best package they were offered, but with Wheeler having gone on the injured list for 10 days with shoulder fatigue earlier this month, it’s likely that his value will be diminshed come Wednesday. With Wheeler going down, rumors began to pop up that the Mets would try to move Noah Syndergaard — who is arguably still their most high-profile player despite his struggles this year, injuries in recent years, and clear second-fiddle status in the rotation behind Jacob deGrom — perhaps in an attempt to still receive something of substance at the deadline during another disappointing season.
The most notable of those rumors came up on Saturday, when The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Mets could consider dealing Syndergaard to the Padres, then flipping some of the prospects they acquired in that deal to acquire New York native Marcus Stroman (who is controllable for 2020) from the Blue Jays.
A day later, the team acquired Stroman without flipping Syndergaard first, inspiring some belief that they might just be making a low-risk, last-ditch effort at turning this team, which features two of the best hitters in the NL in Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil, into a wild-card contender, pairing Stroman with Syndergaard and deGrom to create a three-headed rotation monster. But then the front office indicated through its actions on Monday that this probably is still somewhat of a sell-off and that this is all some sort of bizarre, impossible-to-predict plan, as they traded lefty Jason Vargas — who has at times this year been their most consistent starter — to the Phillies in exchange for minor-league catcher Austin Bossart, who is essentially a no-name prospect.
Now, the trade rumors have escalated to the point where it seems likelier than ever that Syndergaard will be moved before Wednesday’s deadline, and those odds are only heightened by the fact that Syndergaard has begun to openly (and very humorously) address the rumors on Twitter:
Syndergaard has dealt with a multitude of injuries throughout his five-year major-league career — a torn lat muscle that cost him most of the 2017 season, a strained finger ligament and an extremely infamous case of hand, foot, and mouth disease last year, and a strained hamstring this year. He’s in the midst of a career-worst season (albeit one that hasn’t actually been that bad compared to the rest of the league), posting a 4.33 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP, 126 strikeouts, and 36 walks over 126.2 innings, and it feels like he’s far-removed from being the pitcher who helped the Mets to the World Series in 2015 and was an All-Star and prime Cy Young candidate in 2016. On the other hand, he’s not actively bad at this point, and the chances of him turning into that transformative ace again are far from zero. He doesn’t even turn 27 until next month, and he’s under club control for two more seasons after this. And while you might not think it’d be so for a guy whose sinker averages 97.5 MPH, Syndergaard is about as durable as a starting pitcher can be in today’s game: He’s thrown seven or more innings eight times in 20 starts this season.
Which team will be willing to make a (presumably) costly bet on Syndergaard bouncing back and becoming a valuable front-of-the-rotation contributor once again?
Where will the Mets trade Noah Syndergaard?
This poll is closed
He’s not getting traded