Marcus Stroman

Tylor Megill And David Peterson Should Begin 2022 Season In Syracuse

With the addition of Max Scherzer, it would appear the New York Mets rotation is set. After all, they already have Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker returning. They also have two interesting young pitchers in Tylor Megill and David Peterson, who should be given every opportunity to battle for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Looking at Megill first, he was a revelation when he was called up to the majors. Through his first seven starts, he was 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA while walking 11 and striking out 39 over 35.1 innings. For some, he was reminiscent of deGrom, and you could argue it was more like John Maine in 2006. Whatever the case, he pitched well in what was then a pennant race.

After those seven starts, Megill tapered off as he reached innings he never reached in his career. Over his final 11 starts, Megill was 3-6 with a 6.13 ERA while averaging just under 5.0 innings per start. On the bright side, his control remained strong with 16 walks and 60 strikeouts over 54.1 innings. When you see him, there is something very promising there, and it’s incumbent on the Mets to best figure out how to allocate his innings to have him ready for September and October.

Peterson was a different story. He followed a promising albeit statistically troubling rookie season during the pandemic with a poor and injury shortened second year. It’s difficult to know when the oblique began to start bothering him and impacting his performance, but Peterson followed a season with a 4.52 FIP with a 4.78. We would see his 125 ERA+ fall more in line with the FIP dropping to a very poor 73 in 2021. While the strikeouts went up, the walks remained high.

With these two, Peterson has the better pedigree as he’s a former first round pick. However, Megill has better recent success. All told, they are both still a bit raw for the Major League level. You can certainly justify giving one or both of them a spot in the rotation. The better option would be to keep them both in Triple-A to allow them to further battle it out and get ready for when the Mets staff has an inevitable injury.

Keep in mind, the Mets needed 19 starting pitchers last season. Of course, part of that was using pitchers like Aaron Loup and Miguel Castro as openers, but the point remains they needed that many starters. Marcus Stroman was their only starter to make at least 30 starts, and he signed with the Chicago Cubs last season. What the Mets need more than anything right now is pitching depth, and with their having a lack of near Major League ready starters in the upper levels of the minors, they need to manufacture that depth.

With that in mind, the Mets need to sign another starter whenever this lockout ends. Keep in mind, future Hall of Famers Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw are still available. There are other interesting stopgap options as well, and of course, there is also Trevor Williams, who the Mets added at the trade deadline last year.

Whatever the case, the Mets have four very solid starting pitching options if they’re healthy. In fact, when they’re healthy, they’re the top four in the majors. That’s the key. They have to be healthy, and the Mets have to plan for the event they won’t be. That is exactly why Megill and Peterson should be positioned to start the year in Triple-A whenever they permit this 2022 season to begin.

Kevin Gausman Will Be Paid Off One Big Outlier Year

Free agency is difficult. Teams need to look not just at track records but also trajectory. Perhaps, the perfect embodiment of this is Kevin Gausman.

Before signing with the San Francisco Giants, Gausman made 154 starts with 37 relief appearances. He was 47-63 with a 4.30 ERA, 1.344 WHIP, and an 8.3 K/9.

Really, he was a below average pitcher. That was reflected in his 99 ERA+ and 4.13 FIP. It’s also reflected in his being designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves in 2019.

To their credit, the Giants saw something in Gausman. To some extent, it was seeing his FIP and BABIP indicated he pitched better than his stats. It was also getting him to alter his pitch usage and sequencing. Gausman threw fewer fastballs and more splitters.

In the COVID shortened 2020, Gausman posted a 118 ERA+ and a 3.09 FIP. Up until that point of his career, it was his best FIP and second best ERA+ (minimum 60 innings). Much of that was driven by his strikeout rates skyrocketing from his 8.3 K/9 career mark to 11.9.

The problem was that was a shortened season. No one knew if he could do it for a full season. With that, the qualifying offer made sense for both sides.

Gausman responded with a phenomenal Cy Young caliber season. He was a real ace for a Giants team which won 107 games. In 33 starts, he was 14-6 with a 2.81 ERA, 1.042 WHIP, and a 10.6 K/9.

By nearly every measure, this was a career year for the 30 year old hurler. It was his career best in wins, ERA, starts, innings, strikeouts, ERA+, FIP, WHIP, H/9, HR/9, and WAR.

That’s not to say there weren’t some red flags. Gausman’s .275 BABIP and 78.4 LOB% suggests regression. Gausman was also a far better pitcher in the first half.

In the first half, Gausman had a 1.73 ERA while averaging 6.1 innings per start. In the second half, he had a 4.42 ERA while averaging 5.0 innings per start.

Now, considering no one pitched all that much in 2020, there was some drop off expected for all pitchers. After all, there was bound to be fatigue with everyone. That was most likely the cause with Gausman even though he is typically a second half pitcher.

So, here’s the issue. Gausman is turning 31, and he’s had exactly one half of a season pitching like an ace. Essentially, hex was Brodie Van Wagenen miscast Zack Wheeler to be.

Notably, Wheeler was much more than that. Gausman hasn’t been.

There’s other issues as well. The Giants are ahead of most teams on the analytical front. They also had Buster Posey behind the plate. Really, no MLB team can match that. That may go double for a team like the New York Mets.

Essentially, if you’re a team in on Gausman, you are boasting you can help him repeat some of his luck while matching the Giants front office and analytics department. You believe you can make that first half last a full season.

Look, it’s certainly possible. However, that depends on the team. The possibility turns into impossibility depending on the ultimate destination.

Overall, any team interested in Gausman needs to tread extremely carefully. This is the ultimate boom or bust singing. With pitchers like Max Scherzer and Marcus Stroman still available, it’s difficult to ascertain why a team would take this risk.

Angels Taking Advantage Of Mets

There can be a debate as to when the New York Mets knew they needed a front office overhaul. It could’ve been since the start of the season since they failed to hire a president of baseball operations last year.

It could’ve been as late as Zack Scott’s DUI arrest. Whatever the case, the Mets knew before the end of the season they needed a front office overhaul.

What ensued was a protracted search which missed the mark. First, the Mets again gave up on hiring a POBO. Then, it was a GM search.

While this was happening, other teams went to work on their offseason plans. That goes double for the Los Angeles Angels.

While the Mets had no leadership and no plan, Noah Syndergaard signed with the Angels. While the Mets had radio silence, the Angels were laying out their plan from their assembled front office. The sales pitch and uncertainty had an effect on Syndergaard and his decision:

While Syndergaard was due partially to confusion over the front office, Aaron Loup was something else. Loup was great for the Mets, and he wanted to stay. He didn’t.

During the Mets exclusive window to negotiate with Loup, they were trying to assemble a front office. Again, while this was happening, the Angels were making their pitch to Loup. Obviously, it was a successful one.

So, Billy Eppler hasn’t been on the job for a week, and he’s seen Syndergaard and Loup leave. That’s not to say the Mets aren’t moving. After all, they’re pursuing Steven Matz.

Again, the Mets are working from behind. The Angels aren’t and have struck twice. Who knows where this stops, especially with Marcus Stroman still a free agent.

The Mets have time to act, but free agent starters are flying off the board. More to the point, the Angels are taking some of their best pitchers, and it’s possible it’ll happen again soon.

Mets Dangerously Close To Needing A Rebuild

When Noah Syndergaard left the New York Mets to sign with the Los Angeles Angels, one of the talking points was the Mets are going to benefit from the draft pick acquired. The way things are going that may need to be their focus.

Syndergaard leaving is another big hit to the Mets already thin pitching depth. That’s problematic given all the question marks that rotation had even when Syndergaard was expected to be a Met in 2022. If this rotation falters, this is a team who is going to be given no choice but to rebuild.

Jacob deGrom and Carlos Carrasco are coming off injury plagued years, and they are 33 and 34 respectively. With deGrom having an opt out after the 2022 season, they can both be free agents. Taijuan Walker can also be a free agent after the season. Walker had a great first half in 2021, but he faltered in the second half and would ultimately finish the season with a 90 ERA+.

As stands right now, the last two spots in the rotation would go to David Peterson and Tylor Megill. Peterson followed a poor 2020 from a peripheral stat perspective with poor 2021 stats and a season ending injury. He showed flashes, but ultimately, he looked like he was not ready. Megill burst onto the scene, but he tired quickly and fell apart at the end of the season, which is quite understandable.

Given the dearth of Triple-A pitching depth, the Mets need to sign two starters to allow Peterson and Megill to further develop and try to limit their innings a bit. Given where the prices are now, Marcus Stroman is going to need around a $25 million AAV to re-sign. Realistically speaking, it’s going to cost at least $40 million to fix the starting pitching.

Keep in mind, starting pitching is far from the Mets only problem. With Michael Conforto a free agent, and the Mets never getting a left fielder over the last three years, they need to fill-in two-thirds of their outfield. Left field could potentially be filled by Jeff McNeil, but the team needs to both hope they fill in two infield spots while also hoping McNeil rebounds from a nightmare 2021.

That is also before you consider Brandon Nimmo is going to be after the 2022 season. In reality, the Mets will have to figure out how to fill out an entire outfield over the course of two seasons. While McNeil may be the proverbial cheap choice, he is now an arbitration eligible player and will be more expensive. Thanks to Brodie Van Wagenen, the same goes for Pete Alonso.

While the Mets are figuring out how to pay two more starters, having to pay arbitration salaries to Alonso and McNeil, they will also have Robinson Cano‘s salary on the books. Unless Cano has a Jenrry Mejia situation, he is going to get $24 million in 2022 and 2023 ($3.75 will be paid by the Seattle Mariners).

Maybe Cano can take over second or third. Maybe he is a utility player. If the DH comes to the NL, he could be the DH. It’s also possible he’s just an overpaid pinch hitter or a player who will need to be released. In any event, that’s a lot of dead payroll weight when the team is potentially looking to re-sign Javier Baez to play alongside his friend Francisco Lindor. On Baez, he’s projected by MLB Trade Rumors to receive a $20 million AAV.

Before the Mets look to rebuild their bullpen with Jeurys Familia and Aaron Loup being free agents, or build depth with Jonathan Villar being a free agent, they will add at least $84 million to the payroll to add two starters, re-sign Baez, and do whatever they are going to do with Cano. Again, that is before building a bullpen and depth, and it is also before arbitration.

From a competitive balance tax threshold, the Mets payroll is $128.45 million before arbitration. Adding $84 million puts it at $212.45 million. According the MLB Trade Rumors model, the arbitration salaries could increase the payroll by an additional $49.4 million. That puts the Mets payroll at $261.85 million before they fill in their vacancies at second, third, left field, right field, the bench, and the bullpen.

That’s also before they figure out potential extensions for players like Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Nimmo. It’s also before they try to figure out a way to get deGrom to decline his opt out. The question is do the Mets really want to have a payroll around $300 million for the 2022 season? Based on what we saw in 2021, the answer is a clear no. However, we heard some rumors as to why the Mets didn’t go past the threshold.

Sure, with some creativity and shrewd moves, the Mets may not need to get to the $300 million threshold to compete in the NL East. Then again, this team is going to hire Billy Eppler as the GM. Taking a look at the complete picture, the Mets realistically have two options: (1) spend like no one has before; or (2) rebuild. Losing Syndergaard tilted it a little more towards rebuild, but it is still early in the offseason.

Noah Syndergaard Leaving Further Shows Mets Are In Disarray

Going back to 2015, Noah Syndergaard arguably had the best career ahead of him out of any of the Mets proverbial five aces. He had just unparalleled stuff, and he had the swagger to back it up. More than that, he was a big game pitcher.

We saw Syndergaard come out of the bullpen in Game 5 of the NLDS to shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers for an inning. He followed that with a win in Game two of the NLCS, and he would be the only Mets pitcher to win a game in the World Series. You could see greatness in Syndergaard in those moments, and greatness would ensue.

In 2016, Syndergaard would fulfill every bit of his promise. He was a true ace, and he emerged as an All-Star and top 10 in Cy Young voting. To date, he is probably the only pitcher to go toe-to-toe with Madison Bumgarner in the postseason. In that game, Syndergaard actually outpitched Bumgarner over his seven innings, but unfortunately, there were two more innings in that game.

After that, we excepted Syndergaard to do what Jacob deGrom essentially did. The problem was Syndergaard faced injuries and the Mets medical staff as run by Jeff Wilpon. There was the torn lat, and then two years later, he required Tommy John surgery. That Tommy John rehab was interred with by a minor injury and COVID19.

This wasn’t new to the Mets. This is akin to what happened to Zack Wheeler. They saw it happen. It took Wheeler two years to get back on the mound. Then, it took him another half of a season just to get up to speed again. After that Wheeler was terrific, and then, he was out the door to Philadelphia as the Mets showed little to no interest in re-signing him.

The final indignity with Wheeler was Brodie Van Wagenen taking shots at him. Wheeler responded by being one of the best pitchers in baseball. In fact, he is a finalist for the 2021 Cy Young. While some sycophants may want to tell you otherwise, this was apparent at the time Wheeler hit free agency.

This is the same exact situation the Mets found themselves with Syndergaard. Actually not quite because they were going to get the opportunity to keep Syndergaard BEFORE he rebounded post Tommy John. Moreover, Syndergaard loved New York, and he wanted to stay. You couldn’t have scripted a perfect situation for the Mets.

They had the opportunity to learn from the Wheeler mistake. They were going to be able to keep an ace at a discount. They were going to be able to prove the organization was not in complete disarray as it looked with the president of baseball operations and GM search. Put another way, they could show the world this wasn’t just a more financially solvent version of the Wilpon run Mets.

Instead, Syndergaard is bolting for the Los Angeles Angels for a one year $21 million deal. No, Syndergaard didn’t get a multi-year deal. He ONLY received $2.6 million more from the Angels. The Mets lost Syndergaard over $2.6 million. This is so inexplicably and embarrassingly Wilponian.

While the Angels were talking with Syndergaard, the Mets were botching their GM search and choosing the worst possible candidate in Billy Eppler. Like he did with Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy, Alderson decided it wasn’t worth keeping a homegrown Mets player and build around him and let him flourish because he could get a compensatory second round pick.

This all makes you question how soon before Michael Conforto and Marcus Stroman are gone and replaced with lesser players? After all, that’s been Alderson’s MO with the Mets. Steve Cohen was supposed to change that, but as we’ve seen so far, it’s the same old with Alderson.

Really, everything sucks right now with the Mets, and you have no idea where it goes from here.

Zack Scott Needed To Be Fired

With his impending trial for his DUI arrest and the uncertain state of the New York Mets front office, the team fired acting general manager Zack Scott. Really, they had no other choice.

In terms of baseball, a DUI is not a Cardinal sin (pun intended). Hall of Famer Tony La Russa never truly faced MLB consequences for his actions. He kept every job he had, including his current one with the Chicago White Sox.

He was also La Russa. As he’ll tell you, he’s a “Hall of Famer baseball person.” When you have his track record, teams don’t have the courage to make him face consequences for his actions. Either that, or they don’t care.

Scott is not La Russa. He was the Mets GM by default. The original GM was fired, and he stepped into the role. As the interim, Scott needed to prove to the Mets he was up to the task.

Yes, there were undoubtedly some good moves. However, he did build a team, or helped take part in building a team, who completely fell apart. Ultimately, Scott didn’t prove he was the solution for the job.

He’s also not truly available for the job now. Putting aside the administrative leave, he has to prepare for trial. During that time, key organizational decisions need to be made.

Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard are free agents who may have complicated qualifying offer decisions. Key contributors like Aaron Loup and Marcus Stroman are free agents. The Mets can’t sit on the sidelines waiting for Scott to make pivotal decisions which will shape 2022 and the decade to follow.

Between his decisions as a GM and as a driver, he clearly gave the Mets some pause in having him continue in the role. Taking everything into account, the Mets decided it was best to start anew and hire a president of baseball operations.

Whoever that new POBO will be, they need to create the Mets organization in their own image. It’s one of the reasons Luis Rojas‘ option was not picked up, and it’s a reason why the Mets need to clear the GM spot.

Ultimately, this is about the POBO. The Mets need to find the right person, and they need that person to build the organization. The Mets can’t have Scott standing in the way of that, especially when he’s unavailable to do his job at a very critical time.

In the end, Scott gave the Mets very little reason to remove the interim tag. Instead, he really just gave them reasons to remove him from the organization.

Taijuan Walker, Not Marcus Stroman, Cheated Out Of Gold Glove

Watching the 2021 New York Mets, you saw two of the best fielding pitchers you’ll ever see in Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker. Neither one will win a Gold Glove.

There’s a lot to unpack here. That goes double when you consider Stroman made the absolute best plays we saw a pitcher make all season. That’s not hyperbole. Stroman was a Wizard.

He went behind the back on Joshua Fuentes. He went Derek Jeter against Brandon Belt. He chased down Juan Soto.

Make no mistake. There’s no better fielding pitcher. None. The problem is this isn’t a career award. It’s for 2021 only.

Because of that, Stroman was deservedly, albeit shockingly, not named as Gold Glove finalist. While you can make a case for him, when you look at the data, Stroman ranked just 14th among qualifiers in DRS.

In terms of DRS, Max Fried and Zack Wheeler were the top two qualifiers. That makes them deserving finalists for the Gold Glove. While Zach Davies did not qualify, he had a 6 DRS, which tied him with Fried and put him one up on Wheeler.

Given his strong DRS ranking, you can understand why he was a finalist. That is, until, you realize Walker was better. In fact, Walker with his 7 DRS was the best fielding pitcher in the National League.

The problem might’ve been Walker didn’t have enough innings in time. According to Tim Ryder of The Apple, Walker only had 138.2 innings through the first 142 games of the season. He needed 142.0 leaving him 3.1 innings short.

Being diplomatic, this is stupid. There are 162 games in a season, and for an inexplicable reason, they cut off 20 games to make an arbitrary end point. It robbed Walker of an award rightfully his.

Consider that Davies, who qualified by the arbitrary point threw 11 fewer innings than Walker. There’s also the matter of chances.

In 2021, Walker had 51 chances. That’s 16 more than Davies. That’s three more than Wheeler. It’s five more than Fried.

That’s right. Walker made more plays, and he was a better fielder. He had the best DRS while making more plays in the field. Not giving him this award makes the award a sham.

In reality, that’s what this is. It’s a sham. The best fielding pitcher in 2021 wasn’t even eligible for the award because of an arbitrary cut off date before the season ended. As a result, Walker was cheated out of an award rightfully his.

There needs to be a way to fix this. You can’t have a pitcher with the most plays and best DRS not winning the Gold Glove. There’s no justifying it, and Taijuan Walker is owed an apology.

Mets May Need To Proceed As If There Will Be No New POBO

The other day the New York Mets made the smart decision to retain Jeremy Hefner as their pitching coach. It was a move necessary because Hefner was going to be a free agent at the end of the month, and the team needed to act quickly to make sure they retained a coach respected by the Mets pitching staff.

The problem with this decision is it seemed a little out of order. Typically speaking, you do not hire or retain a pitching coach without hiring a manager. To wit, you don’t hire a manager without having general manager and president of baseball operations in place. And yet, that’s exactly where the Mets find themselves.

The Mets seem to be at a bad spot in their search. Their pie in the sky choices in Billy Beane, Theo Epstein, and David Stearns will not be joining the organization. Unfortunately, they’re striking out at the second level and extremely qualified choices like Matt Arnold, Peter Bendix, and Scott Harris. This is far from an exhaustive list. Really, what seems exhaustive is how many times the Mets have been unable to fill this role for well over a year now.

We’re now at the point of the sensational. For example, Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News published an article indicated Mets owner Steve Cohen is relying upon his employees at Point72 as well as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to lead the search for the new president of baseball operations. Honestly, this doesn’t pass the sniff test considering Cohen’s background, but by the same token, we can expect to see more of the same until the position is filled.

That said, there is a bigger issue here. There are certain actions which need to be undertaken in short order, and it appears those decisions will need to be made before the new POBO is hired. Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard are free agents, and the team not only has to decide if they want to extend the qualifying offer, but they also need to see if they want to re-sign them. Marcus Stroman cannot be offered the qualifying offer, but the team does need to figure out if they want to keep him (they should).

This is a team who needs to fill vacancies at third base, and they need to complete their rotation. With Jeurys Familia and Aaron Loup being free agents, they need to build the bullpen. The team needs another outfielder, and they need to see if they are going to keep Javier Baez. There really is just too much to do for the Mets to wait for a new POBO.

Yes, you want a POBO making these decisions, but you can’t sit around and not make key organizational decisions until that person is hired. There is no sense not permitting the 2022 Mets to be as good as they can possibly be because they didn’t hire a POBO.

There is far too much at stake this offseason. Sitting around and doing nothing means the Mets will remain third best in the division, and in all likelihood, it puts them in a position where they are forced to rebuild. The problem is what’s here is a solid enough core to win a World Series. The Mets cannot sit on their hands and wait. Like it or not, Sandy Alderson has to take reins and operate as the POBO until one is hired.

No, it’s not what Mets fans necessarily wanted to hear, but it’s the truth of the matter. The sad, frustrating, and irritating truth.

Marcus Stroman Is Worth At Least $25 Million Per Year

There’s a report out there Marcus Stroman is requesting an AAV of $25 million per year in free agency. In some corners, there’s shock and derision at the number.

Such shock is absurd and rather dumb and misplaced.

Stroman is coming off a season where he made a Major League leading 33 starts (it was really 32) pitching 179.0 innings. He had a 133 ERA+, 3.49 FIP, 3.59 K/BB, and a 3.6 WAR. Over his last three seasons (2018 – 2021), Stroman has a 115 ERA+, 3.67 FIP, and an 8.3 WAR. It should be noted those stats were dragged down by an injury plagued 2018 season.

Since Stroman’s breakout 2016 season, he has been a strong performer. In 2016-2017, he had consecutive 200+ inning seasons. In four out of the past five seasons, he has pitched at least 179.0 innings. Stroman’s FIP has not exceeded 3.91, and his ERA+ has been 133 or better in three of his five seasons.

Starting from 2016, Stroman has made the 13th most starts in the majors with the 15th most innings pitched. He has the fourth best ground ball rate, and his FIP is 3.73 FIP over this stretch is the 53rd best in the majors. Considering there are 30 teams in the majors, that puts Stroman as a solid number two option in the rotation.

Stroman has a 14.9 WAR over this stretch, which is roughly 3.0 WAR per season. Notably, in three of the four seasons Stroman has made 30 starts, he has amassed at least a 3.2 WAR. Using a WAR/$ construct, the 3.0 WAR/season, is worth at least $24 million a year, if not higher keeping in mind WAR/$ tends to increase in value year-t0-year.

However, there is more than that with Stroman. Keep in mind, this is a big game pitcher. Case-in-point was this season. From August 6 to September 14, when the Mets were desperately trying to stay afloat in the race, Stroman was 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA, 1.071 WHIP, and a 9.6 K/9. He also had a 2.70 FIP. Overall, he limited batters to a .224/.274/.329 batting line.

We can also point to his being the 2017 World Baseball Classic MVP, or his big performances for the Toronto Blue Jays in the postseason. While apropos, we at least pretend it’s more difficult to pitch in New York, and Stroman has proved he’s one of the few who doesn’t just pitch well here, but thrives here. When looking at it from that perspective, the Mets should be willing to invest a little more money towards Stroman than they would be willing to perhaps do otherwise.

If you looked and noticed from 2021, Stroman looked like a pitcher on the upswing of his career. He improved in many statistical categories, and he added a new pitch in his split change, and we saw tangible results. What we didn’t see was his working to mess with hitter’s timing like he had done in previous seasons. According to Stroman, during his Instragram live, we should very well see that return in 2022.

Overall, Stroman has shown the ability to stay healthy and to continue working on and improving his repertoire. That is something critical when looking to see how pitchers perform into their 30s and beyond. If you were going to bet on any pitcher to age well, Stroman is that pitcher, and if you are a team in need of a starter, like the Mets, Stroman should be your first call, and you should be more than willing to give him a $25+ million AAV. If you do, he will reward you with his normal work ethic and performance.

Mets Must Extend Qualifying Offer To Noah Syndergaard

In the second game of the doubleheader, Noah Syndergaard took the mound pitching just one scoreless inning. While it was Syndergaard, it wasn’t exactly as we knew him.

His fastball topped out at 96 MPH, not 100. He was only allowed to throw fastballs and change-ups. He only pitched one inning.

And yet, he still struck out two of the three batters he faced. He showed good command throwing nine of his 10 pitches for strikes. In all, even a shadow of Syndergaard was extraordinarily effective.

The start, stunt or not, was just part of the process back from Tommy John surgery. While you’d hope he’d be further along, he’s not. That doesn’t make him an outlier. In fact, it’s just the way Tommy John rehab seems to go with Mets pitchers.

Zack Wheeler immediately comes to mind. He missed two seasons due to his surgery. He was ineffective the first half of his first season back. Since then, he’s been pitching at an ace level, and he’s in the mix for the Cy Young this season.

If Wheeler had his way, he’d be doing it with the Mets. He didn’t get that chance because Jeff Wilpon and Brodie Van Wagenen are idiots who have no sense of loyalty. Fortunately, they’re gone and are not in a position to handle Syndergaard and his desire to return:

The lesson here is Wheeler. We also saw this season with Marcus Stroman the benefit of bringing back a very good pitcher on the qualifying offer despite a year of inactivity.

When you have the wallet, and Steve Cohen has the biggest one in baseball, you keep talent. You keep talent who wants to be here. You keep Noah Syndergaard.

When Syndergaard is healthy, he’s an ace. He’s a big game pitcher. This is a pitcher built for New York. He’s a pitcher who can get you to the World Series.

In all honesty, there’s zero arguments to not offer him the qualifying offer, which he would presumably accept. Seriously, there are none. Worst case scenario is he can be an effective pitcher in whatever the role.

The upside is he’s the ace he is. You don’t turn that down for what would be a one year deal. That’s Wilpon level stupidity. We’re past that.

The Mets must keep Syndergaard.