Time For The Mets To Extend Noah Syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard, if you’re still reading about the Mets at this point, is a hot topic of trade rumors these days. These seem to be real rumors too, and not the clickbait ones SNY was peddling in Spring Training. While turning pitchers into prospects if you can get excess value is usually a good bet given the fragile nature of pitchers, particularly hard throwing ones that haven’t had Tommy John surgery, I think the better play is to extend him, not trade him.

The Mets control Syndergaard for two more years after this one. He has a career 3.21 ERA and accumulated 17.1 fWAR so far. Speaking of WAR, it’s at 2.7 this season. That’s 21st in baseball. (Jacob deGrom is 7th and Zack Wheeler is 25th) The ERAs aren’t as sparkling as last year, but at least with Syndergaard, a lot of that can be chalked up to two things. The juiced ball, and defense.

Syndergaard’s HR rate has spiked, as has literally everyone’s with the way the ball is these days. He’s on record saying he’s struggled to get the same grip on it as he has in previous years. It’s something he knows to work on, and sometimes does seem to have better success, and it’s also something that might be corrected if there’s any correction to the ball in 2020. It’d be foolish to plan on that correcting, but Thor’s still providing a lot of value despite it, and a correction can only help pitchers. You’d also hate to pull a Daniel Murphy, and trade him only to have the ball change in his favor afterwards.

The other thing that’s hurt Syndergaard is LOB%, the percentage of baserunners he strands. This is a stat that’s mostly out of the pitcher’s control, though obviously higher strikeout pitchers will tend to strand more runners. Syndergaard is 31st of qualified pitchers with a 23.8 K%, which is above the starting pitcher league average 22.3. Thor has the 10th worst LOB% of qualified pitchers at 68.1%, and Zack Wheeler is 5th worse. League average is 72%. Defense can kill this, allowing a lower percentage of balls in play to become outs.

So Noah Syndergaard is a really good pitcher still, and could be even better. He’s under team control. This is only his age 26 season. That’s the kind of guy you want on your team. I don’t know what Thor would be looking for in a contract extension. He’s previously shown to be very cognizant of how underpaid MLB players are pre-free agency, so perhaps he’s not willing to give away any of that. Still, if you can pay him more for 2020 and 2021 to buy 2022 and possible more, it’d be hard to believe a trade package could be worth more than Syndergaard himself, barring a spring 2020 Tommy John surgery that cancels is 2020 and 2021 season, but that could just as easily happen to the pitcher the Mets would have to acquire to replace him.

The Mets should absolutely listen to offers on any player they have that can garner something big in return, and measure the odds of that making the team better both in 2020 and beyond, but it’s hard to see the Mets getting a return that has a high-probability of out-performing Noah Syndergaard himself. Keep him, extend him and enjoy him. 

Reinforcements Should Come Soon

The Mets have a big second half of July before the trading deadline.  They play nine big games against the two teams closest to them in the division.  If the Mets are going to make some roster moves, whether it’s by trade acquisition or minor league promotion, you’d like to seem the do so coming out of the break.  In fact, you do already hear rumors of the Mets being linked to possible relievers on the trade market.


There is still a lot of baseball to be played, but it’s important to put your best team forward when you’re playing the teams you’re probably going to be fighting for a playoff spot down to the wire.  A strong second half showing in July could get the Mets into first place and allow them to put the pressure on the other teams in the division.


The Nationals have talked about limiting Steven Strasburg’s innings this season.  That’s easier to do if they maintain a 3.5 game lead, but if the Mets can push them to the bubble, it forces them to make some hard decisions.  The Braves collapsed last year, and as this season comes to a close that could weigh on their minds.  Why give them a cushion to be comfortable with? Keep the doubt that they’re good enough fresh in their minds as the second half rolls along.


The flip side of this is R.A. Dickey.  The Mets have talked about the possibility of using Dickey on short rest and/or in relief if they need to.  Knuckleballer or not, he’s still 37 years old.  It’d be nice to not have to use this bullet, at least not too often, in September.  Getting into first and maintaining a playoff spot would allow them to not have to squeeze every last drop of production out of Dickey and keep him fresher for a possible playoff series.

Biggest Week of Mets Baseball in Years

This next week or two may be the biggest games the Mets have played since the last week of 2008, and they also might be the biggest games they’ll play for years.  The Mets record, as well as the Phillies and Braves, will greatly determine the look of the team going forward this year, and maybe even next year too.

Sandy Alderson has said he would consider trading Carlos Beltran right now a white flag, but if the Mets play poorly over the next two weeks, that white flag is inevitable anyway.   It’s probably not just Carlos Beltran either; The Mets won’t get a ton for guys like Chris Capuano or Jason Isringhausen, but if the chances of contention plummet there will be little reason to keep them.   If they manage to climb closer in the race, the small return from trading those guys won’t be worth gutting the team.  In a way, the Mets could finish a handful of games above or below .500 based on how they do in these next bunch of games.

Either way this season will likely be viewed as a step in the right direction, but if the Mets fall out of it here and restructure the team with next year in mind, the record and excitement levels will fall.   That probably won’t be enough to prompt many to invest in this team, raising projected income and in turn, payroll.  As the memory of the last Mets game fades, we’ll be subjected to more financial news regarding the Picard lawsuit and the Madoff mess.  Their will be speculations about Einhorn’s control, about how much the payroll can possibly go up, and if the Mets will actually field a competitive team.   So the only real news will be mostly doom and gloom again, which won’t help sell tickets.  Just today someone called into WFAN in the brief 20 minutes I had it on proclaiming there is no way the Mets compete for five or six years.

If the Mets climb back into the race and get closer, Sandy Alderson will be more likely to keep players like Beltran, and may even look to add a reliever or someone, especially if the player can be helpful beyond this year too.   Whether or not they can or will win a playoff race is not the point here, the point is that if they stay close and prove that they can play with anyone it suggests that the Mets may not be years from competing.   They could go into the offseason with fans thinking they’re getting close and with the right moves, including resigning Jose Reyes, the Mets could be a very good team next year.  

There’s going to be a lot of stuff to watch with this team this year, and if they remain competitive and winning games they’ll bring in fans to watch versus fans switching gears to what could be a returning NFL season or something else.  Jose Reyes could have a record breaking season, as despite spotting the opposition 11 or more games, he’s still got a commanding lead in base hits.  David Wright will be returning, one of the Mets franchising players who they’ve sorely missed.  Johan Santana may return, and while that’s still up in the air, as is his effectiveness, it will be nice to see him on the mound again.  I would like to be at his first game back if I can at least.

It all starts tonight against the Phillies with your hero in attendence.   The Phillies aren’t taking the Mets seriously, opting to give  Halladay and Lee some extra rest coming off the break and pushing them back until after the weekend.  Facing Vance Worley, Cole Hamels who the Mets routinely beat, and Kyle Kendrick is not a daunting task.  Hopefully the Mets can get a hot start to the second half, while exposing the Phillies pitching depth, and start catching both them and the Braves who are playing the Nationals this weekend.

What Joe Benigno Will Talk About Today

Today will be non-stop “The Mets have no grit” type discussions.  The people that don’t pay attention and think Beltran is soft will come out of the woodwork.  The clubhouse divide comments will come back.  (Michael Kay actually took care of that already today, thanks..) Overly dramatic, pessimistic Mets fans will be all over these things.  There is usually Yankees praise involved.  I can pretty much predict Joe Benigno’s show from 2-6:30 on WFAN tomorrow.

“Write it down, the Yankees are going to go out and get Roy Oswalt.  After seeing Hughes take a step back last night, and Pettitte on the DL, there is no way, NO WAY bro, that the Yankees don’t get this guy.  And what will the Mets do? Nothing.  What a pathetic game last night.  I don’t care what the numbers say, Beltran needs to sit down until he’s up to speed.  They made a mistake bringing this guy back so fast.  I know Francoeur isn’t hitting but he’s too valuable as a leader to mess with the chemistry.  And no one else is hitting anyway!  At least Francoeur you know you’re getting good defense out there.  I really think the Mets made a mistake bringing Castillo and Oliver Perez, and don’t get me started on this bum who should be pitching for Japan right now or something.  All we heard about was how good the chemistry was on this team and then you throw these malcontents back into the mix and look what happens!   And what is Omar doing?  Will you make a trade Omar? What are you waiting for?!”

Jeff Francoeur for Ryan Church. Why?


The Mets traded Ryan Church to the Braves for Jeff Francoeur. Hopefully this isn’t what the Braves needed to take the division, but I’m more concerned about Jeff. He’s hitting .250, which is more than he hit last year, and has five home runs.

Presumably it was power and defense that attracted Omar to Francoeur. He does have a good arm. I don’t know that he’s appreciably better than Church, who certainly wasn’t a liability out there. He’s supposedly got power, but for the last two years that’s equated to too many strike outs and not enough hits.

Let’s break down those home runs using hit tracker. Two are considered “just enough” home runs. This means they barely cleared the fence. Two more are classified as “lucky” which means they wouldn’t have cleared the fence on a 70 degree calm day. We know Citi Field is a below average hitter’s park, so how do those home runs translate? He hit all five to left center, which isn’t exactly the easiest place to hit them.

I worry that this was a move because Manuel does not like Ryan Church. Unfortunately, Manuel should play the guys that are better suited to help the Mets win and Ryan Church is just a better baseball player than Jeff Francoeur. The pressure is on HoJo now; hopefully he can mold Francoeur into a better baseball player.

Trade Deadline Looms

I worry about John Maine, but I think he’ll be okay in the end. A little shoulder stiffness is really all it is, and apparently they knew about it before hand, which means that he was able to pitch with it without hurting it further. Maybe they skip him in the rotation due to the off day, but I’m hopeful it’ll be alright in the end.

More importantly, Johan Santana stepped up after an exhausting game on Saturday where the Mets used the bullpen so roughly that Oliver Perez was warming up in the 14th inning. Santana pitched a complete game, waylaid his critics a bit, and gave the bullpen a much needed rest. They have an off day on Thursday too, so if Pelfrey can give them a lot tonight, they’ll get a nice recharge.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about as the trade deadline looms is what the Mets are to do. I am not a fan of Adam Dunn, or the “Gets on base so strike outs don’t matter” group. While I think our bullpen is excellent, I know bullpen suckiness and exhaustion were the main culprits last year. Maybe another solid arm in there is the best solution the Mets can find. There is a lot of talk of a corner outfielder, and even yesterday I thought this should’ve been the priority. I think Carlos Delgado changes that, Delgado has been playing pretty amazingly for a while now, and I don’t think it’s something he’s going to lose midseason. This Delgado is more true to form than the ones fans grew to hate in 2007 and earlier this year. If Delgado is hitting, then the offense is not as big a problem as it was, and couple that with the possibility that Church will be back soon, and the success Tatis and Endy have had filling in, we might be okay.

So my (un)professional opinion is to get a bullpen arm, and keep an eye out for a cheap outfielder too, even if it’s just someone that can get hot for a week or two, or just needs a change of scenery. Even if the bullpen arm doesn’t end up being great, it’ll distribute the work load and hopefully keep the best guys healthy and fresh for the stretch run.

Rumor Mill

Rumors abound!

I like all the rumors, because it keeps baseball talk alive, and I can only take so much of the same football stories all week since nothing happens between Monday night and Sunday afternoon, but I do hate chasing around rumors. There are so much unsubstantiated stuff, so many halfway-educated writers decided what the Mets just HAVE to do to be good next year, and so many little things to keep track of.

I’m happy with what the Mets have done so far. I don’t think we needed Easley, but I like Anderson and Alou. Let’s see what happens for the rest, but I don’t know that I’ll have a good sense until April, after I’ve seen and heard about all the bullpen prospects the Mets have for the season. Because I think the bullpen is the biggest issue, as much as I would like another starter. I wouldn’t be panicing with Pedro, Maine, Perez and Humber, Pelfrey and El Duque. Maybe pick up a marginal guy now or later or both and see what happens. I want them to resign Lo Duca, and Castillo, and I think they will.

So let’s see where this goes, I just can’t take real interest in the zillion of rumors and trades that are suggested every day. Too many writers, not enough stuff to write about.

Another (Season) Series Won

The Mets again, just like game seven, took a tie game into the late innings against the Cardinals. This time Heilman retires the side, Billy Wagner strikes out So Taguchi, and the Mets win on a Shawn Green home run. It’s been a while now since people have been calling for Green’s head. He’s started to play well again, and the hair on that head has started to grow again. The Mets now have a four game winning streak, and instead of not hitting when they pitch, they pitch when they’re not hitting. It’s a small thing, but a huge difference. The Mets are finding ways to win again, despite two Delgado errors, despite only having three hits.

This isn’t a fluke, this isn’t the Yankees teasing fans with a long win streak only to stumble again. The Mets are for real, this is for real. The Mets have now won the season series against the Cardinals, and have yet to lose a game against them. I think I’m over last year now. I still despise the Cardinals, but the Mets are far enough along that I can block out the NLCS and focus on the future. The Cardinals will not be standing in the way in October. The Mets have a big series coming up this weekend, and it’s good that they’re playing well again. If I could pick one stretch for the Mets to have a losing streak, June would be the one I would’ve picked. They lost games against mainly American League teams, who they won’t be competing against to win the division or even a wild card. An added bonus is that losing games to teams like Detroit and Minnesota actually hurts the Yankees wild card chances.

The Mets have a chance to gain a comfortable lead after a miserable stretch. They will actually go into July with a greater lead than they went into June. The Mets are 8-14 so far in June, and they actually have a chance at not having a losing June. I don’t expect this to happen, but it’s starting to look much better than it was.

To address the pessimists that think the first three weeks in June are more a measure of this team then the rest of the season, you’re crazy. I know the Mets were playing the so-called best teams in baseball, but that doesn’t mean the Mets stink. Besides the fact that the American League teams have an obvious advantage in interleague play, particularly at home, the Mets were just slumping. You could see it in their play. It’s not like the Mets were playing great, pitching well, hitting well, and not making mistakes. They played crappy, and they lost. I know they went through a similar interleague struggle last year, and it’s a sad coincidence that strengthens this bogus argument. If the Cardinals could beat Detroit last year, do you really think the Mets wouldn’t have?

Another negative point the pessimistic Mets fan likes to rant about seems to be that we need another starting pitcher. This is the rant of a fan that’s not paying much attention. Tom Glavine will be what he is, and he actually pitched well in the playoffs last year. El Duque can be a starter, or a long reliever, and is great in the playoffs. Oliver Perez is really starting to look like a clutch pitcher, and John Maine has had a measure of consistency this year, keeping the Mets in games. All accounts say that Pedro Martinez is progressing marvelously and he would be a bigger addition to this club then any trade could bring. The bullpen is another story. I would like to see some other players audition, whether it is through trade or call-up. I’m sure Omar is looking into solutions, and it’s still a month from the deadline, so he’s probably putting out feelers and expressing interest in guys on teams that haven’t given up yet.

Another bat is another common request, but I think it’s a bad one. Counting out Moises Alou, whose injury gets worse and worse the more doctors look at it, we’ve got Shawn Green and Carlos Beltran. After them, we’ve got Carlos Gomez, Endy Chavez, and even Lastings Milledge. These guys add sparks and excitement and the ability to mix it up, put out different guys and try to find someone hot is much more valuable then putting a acquisition out there. Especially if that acquisition is a guy like Sosa, who by many accounts is a cheater.

All I can say is, stop being so pessimistic. Have some faith in the team, in Willie and in Minaya. Enjoy the winning season rather then expecting it to be like 2003.