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Biggest Reason Mets Can’t Trade Syndergaard

After discussing it most of the offseason, the Mets are once again in a position where they are talking with teams about Noah Syndergaard. There are smart teams with interesting farm systems interested in the Mets starter. Depending on the packages offered, the Mets could be very tempted to move Syndergaard.

They shouldn’t.

One of the arguments you hear from some circles is you shouldn’t trade him because his value is at a nadir. With Syndergaard having a career worst ERA, ERA+, FIP, HR/9, BB/9, K/9, and K/BB, this is absolutely true. Seeing studies and Syndergaard’s comments, it is possible these results are reflective of the new ball. The Mets having a National League worst defense doesn’t help either.

Reasonably speaking, you could anticipate Syndergaard to rebound and led the Mets back to contention in 2020. If you trade him, it’s difficult to imagine the Mets contending anytime soon.

Looking at 2020 first, it’s hard to imagine the Mets having that one year turnaround. With Syndergaard traded and Zack Wheeler gone either via trade or free agency, the Mets have two spots to fill in the rotation. That becomes three when Jason Vargas‘ option is declined. Even assuming Anthony Kay is ready to begin the year in the rotation, the Mets still have two spots to fill in the rotation.

Given the Mets budget and historical unwillingness to spend big on starting pitchers on the free agent market, it is difficult to believe the team could build a starting rotation good enough to win in 2020. Theoretically, the Mets could fill in the rotation by making Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo starters again. However, this makes an already terrible bullpen worse, and you will likely be dealing with innings limits.

Long story short, if the Mets trade Syndergaard they will not be able to build the type of pitching staff which would let them compete in 2020. This means the Mets will have to look towards 2021. Notably, Michael Conforto and Steven Matz will be free agents after the completion of that season.

Given the uncertainty of the readiness of David Peterson and/or Franklyn Kilome to join the rotation by then, there is doubt whether the Mets pitching staff would be ready to compete by then. While this is happening, the Mets will be in year three of Robinson Cano‘s contract. That’s a consideration which needs to be accounted for when analyzing the Mets ability to compete in 2020 or 2021.

Realistically speaking, depending on the return the Mets receive for Syndergaard, the team will not be in a position to really compete again until 2022 at the earliest. With that being the scenario, the Mets should also be looking to trade Conforto for a big return as well because the team is not going to win before he becomes a free agent.

By that 2022 season, you will have wasted the first three years of Pete Alonso‘s and Jeff McNeil‘s careers, and they will be arbitration eligible. It will be the same situation for other cost controlled assets like Lugo and Edwin Diaz. This coupled with Cano’s big contract will once again infringe on the Mets payroll flexibility.

Therefore, the Mets ability to win in 2022 will hinge on what the Mets bring aboard in moving Syndergaard and maybe Conforto. It will depend on how quickly players like Mark Vientos, Shervyen Newton, Ronny MauricioFrancisco Alvarez and Brett Baty can develop to help the team. While you can be high on them now, it is a completely different situation to count on them to develop in time to make you a winner.

That is the situation you are in if you trade Syndergaard now. You are beginning the dismantling the core to try to compete three years from now. If the prospects don’t develop the way you intended, or players get hurt, everything falls apart. As an organization, you have to ask yourself if that is really worth it when the team is really just a center fielder and 1-2 bullpen arms away from contending next year.

When you look at it through the prism of when the Mets could actually be in a window to contend again, the team cannot trade Syndergaard now. That is, unless, the team either starts spending now, or Brodie Van Wagenen proves himself to be much more adept at trades than he did last offseason. We shouldn’t be hopeful on either development happening.

22 thoughts on “Biggest Reason Mets Can’t Trade Syndergaard”

  1. LongTimeFan1 says:

    It’s time to shake things up not continue with same failing solutions.

    Either trade Syndergaard, or convert to closer.

    2020 rotation won’t be difficult to construct.

    Lugo is better physically served as starter given his nagging elbow and shoulder issues. This sets him with predictable pitching and throwing schedule.

    Anthony Kay takes over Matz’s spot in the rotation either later this season or by opening week 2020.

    The other spots can be filled through free agency and young,, big league ready starters we get via trade.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The issue isn’t the starters. It’s been the bullpen and defense, which is an easy fix. It really is, which makes the inability to do so completely inexcusable.

    2. Gothamist says:

      The first order of business is that the ownership brought in Díaz for a few controllable years.

      It was reported that Cano was brought in to DH for the intelligence said it would be a done deal with the next CBA. That proved to be too optimistic.

      So, by riding Wheeler and or Noah by opening day 2020 they are one step from their plan.

      I believe some form of public capitulation by ownership is needed.
      That the plan failed.

      Let them make Brody a VP, get a new GM.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        @Gothamist That was an extraordinary move on the Mets part. They thought that Cano could slot into the imagined, newly-created NL DH in something like 2022 as a 39 year old, even though he had failed to crack an .800 OPS in 2 of the 4 seasons leading up to his acquisition.

        This just sounds like more of the astonishing nonsense Jeff Wilpon cooks up to blow more smoke up fandom and distract from the idiocy of the Mets moves. “Yeah, we’ll say we were playing nth level chess and that Cano was intended to slot into blahblahblah…” Even as an excuse it’s a sad, pathetic joke. So whether it was just another absurd FO lie or Wilpon actually believed it, holy ____.

  2. OldBackstop says:

    So: you think the answer for Lugo’s hanging-by-a-shred-arm is full time starter?

    You think the the ball when Noah pitches this year is different from when Jake or Vargas pitches?

    I think you extend Wheeler and re-up Vargas. We can’t do into next year ALSO have to find five starters as well as a defense and a bullpen.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      No, I do not think the Mets should move Lugo back to the rotation at all.

      Yes, I do think the ball will change back to allow guys like Thor to thrive again. In fact, it may happen again in the second half.

      1. LongTimeFan1 says:

        Changing the rotation, improves the pen. It’s easier to fix the rotation than pen or defense. Why? We don’t need 3 or 4 aces, hence don’t have to find those types.

        What we need are solid starters who consistently pitch 6 or 7,innings, are reliable from start to start, keep the ball in the yard, stay relatively healthy and pitch to sub 4.00 era’s. We would be fine with a bunch of consistent mid-rotation types, and one or two aces.

        The goal should be to put players in best position to succeed where it most helps the team and keeps players healthy. When things don’t work season after season with the same players in same roles on same team, it’s time to shake things up.

        Either trade Syndergaard for talented big league, or close to ready quality prospects, or move to closer. Scary guy with massive mound presence who won’t have to conservative energy trying to go deep into games. He can then use dominating stuff for one inning, plus games when needed for 4 or even 5 outs. As a starter, his K rate is declining., now 8.6 per 9. With his stuff he should be able to miss more bats. As closer/set-up , he’ll be in better position to make that happen. As starter, we’re not getting the most out of Syndergaard.

        Should Diaz right the ship, we could use either to close or set up however that fits on any given game.

        Moving Lugo to the rotation where he also prefers, provides predictability of routine to offset the unpredictability and multiple appearances every few days for his elbow and shoulder in the pen,.

        Degrom, Lugo, Kay, are 3/5ths of rotation. We can then sign a free agent or two and turn to young pitchers we acquire in trades either this month or next season.

        Our defense will improve through better instruction, better tool maximization, better skill building, better speed development, and playing players where they best fit defensively. Rosario at SS, Conforto in CF flanked by McNeil and Smith is not good defense.

        Neither is Ramos behind the plate and Cano as is at second.

        JD Davis is quality hitter but ought to spend the offseason transforming his outfield and infield defense, getting faster and ridding himself of the extra steps and yips of throwing with an otherwise plus arm.

        We should also look to acquire several new, preferably young position player starters for next season obtained via trade, and where needed via free agency. These must be two-way players with good athleticism and strong mental make up.

        Improving the pen is major project and major challenge. Free agent relievers tend to be unpredictable. In the ideal, we develop our own but fill in the gaps for the time being through outside acquisitions and improving the skills, and approach, mechanics and an array of details of those youngsters with upside we have.

        We also need to improve the farm and big league depth. That’s where trades this month and offseason are critical.

        We also need new manager and coaching overhaul. Some coaches such as Rojas, and both hitting coaches should stay.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Bullpen and defensive guys are cheaper. That’s why it’s a much easier fix than trying to get starters on the free agent market.

          Also, when you improve those you really help your very talented starting rotation.

      2. Fred’s Rugs says:

        Lugo will be a great spot starter, fifth sixth for a top team.
        He is not automatic in any role.
        I mean he lacks consistency.
        If I am wrong, I am wrong…

        Looks like Starlin Castro (a Metsdaddy fav) is headed to a contender.
        Got the glove and playoff exposure…..

        1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

          I went through Lugo’s stats in some detail during the offseason. His actual performance to date shows him to be more valuable in the bullpen even after accounting for the significantly fewer innings pitched versus starting. It’s just not worth putting Lugo in a starting role.

          Even using Corey Oswalt (4.94 ERA in a starting role last year, and significantly better than that–something like 4.40–if you remove his one emergency spot start when he was flown to Citi on a few hours notice) as the Mets 6th starter is an improvement over putting Lugo in the rotation since the Mets have to replace Lugo’s innings by putting something like their 15th best reliever into the bullpen to replace his relief innings.

          Who gets Lugo’s 60 bullpen innings (or whatever number you care to allot)? It’s a reliever the Mets would not otherwise give innings to. That’s a truly bad reliever. It’s just not worth it, given Lugo is both a not very good starter and who will replace his innings.

          1. Gothamist says:

            The Lugo we know — will not get many innings nor a long leash if he pitched relief in the playoffs for a team with a stacked enough pen.

            I do not see him spotting his FB in the high k zone border at 97 consistently or even 97 too often. 93-95 is not a plus pitch after the 6th inning FOR ANYONE.

            IF Anyone can consistently hit the lower corner, I mean half the time off that corner to get them to reach after you establish you can throw a breaking ball strike there AT THAT CORNER then we have dominance.

            Look at all the great starting pitchers not only winning on days without their best stuff but after they lose their velocity they will to develop this pitch…

  3. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Correction:

    Rather than “Degrom, Lugo, Kay, are 3/5ths of rotation. We can then sign a free agent or two and turn to young pitchers we acquire in trades either this month or next season. ”

    I meant offseason. – this offseason not next season.

  4. LongTimeFan1 says:

    And a Second Correction.

    Re: Syndergaard, “conservative should be replaced with “conserve.”Conserve energy.

  5. Jeff’s Weaver says:

    The Mets, down two starters go to FA market?

    Sign the cream of the crop?
    Get the astute values but nevertheless pay bucks?
    Like a crafty effective, healthy consistent innings eater who wants to take any role to win!
    NBA free agents did not want to sign with the Knicks dysfunction.

    Did someone say sign two?

    I would trade Noah, his FB lacks movement and he tried to go to 103 for he knew it!
    His other stuff last year was not good enough.
    I want to pay bucks who gets that K he needs, holds runners on.
    Noah is super deliberate to be effective.
    If he focuses elsewhere it is too disruptive.
    Not on my playoff roster…

  6. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    “Reasonably speaking, you could anticipate Syndergaard to rebound and led the Mets back to contention in 2020. If you trade him, it’s difficult to imagine the Mets contending anytime soon.”

    —Since the Mets weren’t contenders going into 2019 by any reasonable measure, and projections put Syndergaard at his typical 4 WAR year, even if they keep him for 2020 they aren’t contending. They have little money, numerous arb raises to pay, severely reduced projections from all bus three of their current roster, and they’ll be missing Wheeler and probably Matz.

    The 2020 team overall projects to be significantly worse than the 2019 team given Ramos’ falloff, Syndergaard’s falloff (which probably drops him to a 2-3 WAR projection), Cano’s complete collapse, Broxton’s apparent collapse and departure (the Mets were planning on him as their cheap starting CFer after Lagares’ left–oops), Diaz’s collapse, deGrom’s fall from otherworldly to merely excellent, Rosario having missed another year of promise, Gsellman establishing himself as just another subpar reliever, Nido once again showing he’s just another backup catcher with a sub-.300 ERA, Matz’s promise vanishing entirely, JD Davis showing more of what we’ve always known, that his defense means his offense only allows him to be a modest substitute…

    Keeping Syndergaard simply won’t matter towards contending. He will let the Mets once again fulfill the Wilpon’s aim of Pretending to Contend in 2020 and playing meaningful games in June by sending out the same crew they sent out in 2019 (except with projections substantially lowered across the team with only a few exceptions) and no one coming up from the minors and no money for premium free agents–or even an AJ Pollack type. They’ll cross their fingers yet again, regardless, while lying again to casual fans.

    Keeping Syndergaard makes this a team that projects in 2020 to about 77 wins instead of 74.
    This team won’t contend in anything like its current form. The dream is over. The dream is dead.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      If Syndergaard won’t matter, blow it up. Trade him and Conforto now. Also trade deGrom and seriously consider moving Alonso and McNeil.

      Once you trade Syndergaard, the Mets will have no shot to contend within the next three years at least. Likely, it’ll be much longer than that.

      1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

        I would agree that the Mets have no shot at contending within the next three years, if not more.
        Tbh i did think as of late March 2019 when I saw Wags’ catastrophic offseason that they were done through at least 2022. (Predicting 5 and more seasons out is generally a fool’s errand, which is why i stopped at 2022.) Just not enough talent. Too few very good to great players. Too many players with limited upside. No upper minors to replenish the team as injuries inevitably beset it…

        The current roster has essentially no chance of contending, and by the time the players currently in the lower minors mature (assuming they do), Conforto will be off the team, as will be Syndergaard (if he wasn’t dealt), as will Matz (if it even matters). It takes a long time to make it to the majors. I think it wasn’t until his eighth year in the org that Nimmo broke out. Even a meteor like deGrom didn’t contribute in the majors until his 5th year in the organization. The 18 yo’s many Mets fans are banking on, won’t be key contributors if ever until everyone except Alonso has gone elsewhere.

        Even Nimmo will be gone after 2022, along with Lugo, Gsellman, and Diaz, none of whom are the kinds of players the post-Madoff Mets have been keeping into their final year of team control. All of those 4 will be in their final arb years, and the Mets as a rule have not been paying those players 80% of their FA salaries just to see them walk, or go for a QO.

        It’s going to be a long 4 (plus) years.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          The Mets have a real core which could and should contend. They just need the right pieces around them. Cano is the one piece really standing in the way.

          1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

            The unfortunate news in that regard is that the 2018-2019 offseason was their shot, and they blew it. There’s no coming back from the destruction Wags wrought. Too much talent was dealt away and too much money committed counterproductively for the Mets to contend in 2020-2022.

            deGrom, Alonso, and McNeil are the only players with good chances of being 4 WAR or better players.

            Conforto’s a pretty solid 3 WAR player, but he has established that’s all he really is. Syndergaard yo-yos around, but he’s probably a 3 win player–no more, at this point. Not really. And that’s it.

            Everyone else is a 0-2 win player, mostly on the lower half of that. For 2020 all of Ramos, Davis, Nimmo, Rosario, Cano (even if they cut him it doesn’t matter–too many holes on the roster), Lugo, Gsellman (now sub-replacement for his career by bWAR), Diaz… the promise is largely gone or the upside is limited. These are guys who are well past prime, or whose ceilings are low, or who, as in the case of Nimmo, are nice players who have all of one good season out of 4 to their credit. Or Smith, who has all of 160 good PAs against being one of the worst players in the majors for 2 seasons.

            Sure, “if everything goes right…,” but we can say that about the Marlins. 2019 has damaged the projectability of most of the Mets. Not enough very good players, far too many holes.

            Project the 2020 Mets based on who is on the roster and what they’ve done to date, and you have about 32 WAR. That’s an 80 win team and it doesn’t account for the negative production of the worst 25-35 players the Mets will send onto the field, that cost them -8.8 WAR in 2018 and -7.5 WAR already in 2020.

            It’s a 72 win team with Syndergaard in 2020. You have to squint to get them to 75. With enormous good luck and a lot of things breaking right, they’ll reach .500. Would that it were otherwise, but there’s just not enough talent. Not enough of a core

            Just project the team for 2020 including its 2019 performances. The evidence is all too clear. The evidence, in fact, is incontrovertible.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            As I said elsewhere, you have to move Cano. His play and contract stands in the way of them competing for anything. It did this year, and it will next.

  7. OldBackstop says:

    “”””What we need are solid starters who consistently pitch 6 or 7,innings, are reliable from start to start, keep the ball in the yard, stay relatively healthy and pitch to sub 4.00 era’s……”””

    I think you’ll have to widen the goalposts, because there are only 25 qualifying pitchers in the NL with sub 4.00 ERAs, which makes about 1.6 per team.. And Vargas dropped out of the Top 25 last night, leaving us with one.

    I think 20 years from now we will look back at this as idiocy, letting your best arm throw 100 pitches with an 8-0 lead, or bringing in your top reliever to protect your aces record in a blowout with men on base.

    Tampa Bay has the right idea, and history is tremding that way. Staffs should be a bunch of rubber armed guys on call, and your best arms put in high leverage, close games.

    1. Blair M. Schirmer says:

      Letting Vargas go 117 pitches with a 7-0 lead in the 9th was lunacy. A quick scan showed no Mets pitcher threw that many pitches in 2017 or 2018.

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