The Mets have been more of a joke than usual lately. Their manager Mickey Callaway lost his temper over a reporter doing his job by questioning a strategic blunder, followed by Jason Vargas threatening to assault said reporter.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, rookie General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen excoriated the Mets’ coaching staff during a meeting where he got so angry that he threw a chair. Oh, and the team is 40-50, 13.5 games out of first place, seven games out of the Wild Card, and has less than a five percent chance to make the playoffs. Other than that, everything is fine.
With their season in shambles, the Mets need to be looking into selling. Noah Syndergaard is several weeks away from turning 27, and will not be a free agent until after the 2021 season. He should not get terribly expensive as he progresses through arbitration, either, not that such a thing should be a hindrance to a team.
I have to admit that I was a little surprised that Syndergaard was drawing interest from other teams, mostly because he has a 5.03 RA9 right now. Also, despite having one of the hardest fastballs among starters that sits at 98-99 mph with good downward plane, his strikeout rates have been underwhelming in recent years. He is currently sitting at a career low 22.8 percent strikeout rate, which is roughly average. At least he is adept at preventing free passes to hitters.
Coming off a season where he had a 3.21 RA9, it might look like Thor is having a down year, but he really is not. The Mets’ defense has been terrible this year, and he has been bitten by the juiced balls, having already given up 14 home runs this season. Comparatively, he gave up only nine all of last year, and 11 in 2016. Strangely, he has given up nine of those home runs in the pitcher-friendly confines of Citi Field.
Syndergaard has the third largest negative difference between his DRA and RA9 among qualified starters with a 3.29 DRA that is 1.74 runs lower than his RA9. Because this is the Mets, the largest difference belongs to fellow teammate and trade candidate Zack Wheeler (3.12 DRA, 5.07 RA9). The DRA model is crediting him with having to suffer through a terrible defense, bad luck on balls in play, and facing off against some strong competition.
At worst, Thor is a mid-rotation starter right now, so it should come as no surprise that the Padres have inquired about him. Their rotation is the team’s weak link right now, and while there are pitching prospects in the system, there is a fair amount of risk involved in them and they are not that close to the majors. They can definitely trade a couple of those prospects for more of a sure thing in Syndergaard.
All that being said, I would speculate that it would take a lot for the Mets to part with Syndergaard. While their 2019 season is likely over, one could argue that their window is still open. If they want to compete next year, they are going to have to hang on to him. It would likely take a godfather offer to get the Mets to part with him, but the Padres could put together such an offer.
The Brewers could really use Syndergaard. The problem is that they do not have a lot of prospect capital to spend on him, so any negotiation would probably have to include Keston Hiura, a top prospect in baseball.
It is hard to tell what the Mets should do. As a lifelong jaded Mets fan, I don’t trust them to do anything right, so I can’t see them being competitive next year, but they have little chance to compete without him. Whatever they decide to do, I can say that I have zero faith in this organization to execute competently.
. . .
Luis Torres is a Featured Writer at Beyond the Box Score. He is a medicinal chemist by day, baseball analyst by night. You can follow him on Twitter at @Chemtorres21.