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.

Optimistic Stuff Going On

It often feels like the mainstream media has a story they want to write, and look for the facts to fit the story rather than watching the game and writing a story that matches the facts.  They can get hung up on narratives they like and beat them to death.  Part of the reason I named this blog what I did was to counter the idea that the Mets are cursed, never spend, are inept, or Latin-biased, etc etc.


One of the common stories this year was that the Mets are broke and can’t afford Reyes, so they will trade him.   They stuck to this; it seemed like every day there was another story about how they’d have to trade him, or who would be a good suitor.  As the season went on some of these writers had the occasion to glance down at the field, and happened to notice how unbelievably awesome Jose Reyes is, and how much he is adored by Mets fans.  Slowly but surely more articles came out suggesting, as many bloggers have been writing all along, that the Mets should and could keep Reyes.   It’s so refreshing to watch a player that’s just that awesome, that leads the league in so many categories, and is having a blast doing it.   That his great season has caused writers to use the delete button more than usual is just a bonus.


Speaking of which, here’s a post from Ed Ryan at Mets Fever that wonders if maybe the Mets should be thinking about adding, not subtracting, players at the trading deadline.  Personally I think the Mets will add someone.  Alderson has been known in the past to like to wheel and deal, and I suspect this year will be no different.  He’s claimed to this point to have the financial ability to do so.  This doesn’t mean no one will get traded though, it just means it doesn’t have to be a fire sale.   Sandy Alderson won’t need to trade major league pieces for guys that may or may not help the team at some future time.  He’s got the options of trading major league talent for equal major league talent, maybe shuffling off an extra bat for an extra relief pitcher, or trading prospects for a good player that’s still got a couple of years left on his contract to help the team out both this year and next.


Winning or losing, it’s never too early to start bringing in talented players.  Even if you don’t believe the Mets are one or two players away from making the playoffs, if you make them one better right now, that’s less work needed to do in the offseason.  I expect a lot of activity in July, and some of it will probably be pretty exciting.






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.

Smith, Delgado, Pelfrey and the trading deadline

At first I was a little upset that Joe Smith got sent down. I know he’s been struggling as of late, but I still think he’s a good pitcher. I’ve gotten over it though, and I hope he can work on some adjustments down in AAA that will aid the Mets down the stretch. I feel the Mets need a reliever and contract situations make that tough, so if Joe Smith could be a solid playoff contributor, it would go a long way.

The trading deadline is approaching, and while I feel like we need a move, I’m not quite sure exactly what it should be. There are a lot of underachieving parts on this team, and it’s a tough spot to figure out which parts are going to come around, and which could use a backup or replacement. Should we get a decent reserve infielder that can spot Delgado at times? Do we need another decent outfield bat? Another reliever? I don’t relish Omar Minaya’s job this year, he’s got a lot of tough choices. I have faith in him though, based on what he’s done so far.

Mike Pelfrey is getting the start tonight, a game in which I’ll be in attendance. I have a strange feeling he’ll be good. He managed to pitch himself onto this team in the spring against expectation, and he is in that situation again tonight. With Sosa no longer exceeding expectation, I feel like Pelfrey could steal his spot with a gem tonight. Hopefully he’ll only be keeping it warm for Pedro, but until Pedro’s throw a game or two, It’s hard to talk about him.

Carlos Delgado is hitting .333 this July. He’s got a .394 OBP this month. Hopefully this is a turning point for him. Whatever the struggles were early, he’s looking like he might start turning it around for real. If he plays well the rest of the way, I don’t care what happened early this year. Maybe he just struggled to get into his groove, but we’re in first place, and if he keeps playing well, it’ll stay that way.

This team isn’t playing great, but that doesn’t mean they can’t. Almost everybody is having a poor season, and that just means that they all are capable of playing better. Better than four games up in the division is a good thing, and I expect that at least some of the underachievers will step it up down the stretch and in the playoffs. It’s going to be a successful year, I can feel it.

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.

Power Depletion

The Mets offense was shut down for the third time this week, this time it wasn’t against a Cy Young award winner, but Doug Davis. We can lose Jose Valentin for a while, no big deal. Moises Alou goes down? Well we expected that, and we’ve got a bunch of outfield prospects we want to play with, and it’s always nice to get Endy Chavez some regular time. Shawn Green’s going on the DL? Well maybe one of these prospects actually gets hot for a while, or David Newhan prospers with some regular starts like Jose Valentin did last year. Carlos Beltran bruised his knee? Well now it’s starting to look a little darker. Our offense was very depleted this weekend, but we never made it easy. Oliver Perez and John Maine both pitched well to start, but ultimately fell off the pace before the opposing pitcher did. The Mets failed to work counts to try to get into the bullpen to find somebody hittable, and they weren’t able to capitalize on most of the few situations that presented themselves. Still, 35-20 is a great record.

The weekend can basically be summed up by the 8th inning on Sunday. The Mets had four regulars playing; Reyes walked, Wright singles, and Lo Duca walked. This shows how the Mets regular offense can manage to get on base, while the rest of the fill-ins couldn’t get them home.

Now lets get to the optimism. The Mets pitched very well. John Maine and Oliver Perez kept them in games, which is what we’ve wanted out of them. Maine’s been showing that ability all season, while Perez has a couple of meltdowns that were problematic. Him being able to stay in the game, even after some struggles is important And then there is Jorge Sosa. What a great year he’s having after not making the team. He had one poor start, which is probably the only thing that’ll keep him from winning pitcher of the month for May. The real question, while way too premature, is what happens when Pedro returns? I know the Mets signed Aaron Sele to a minor league contract, but I have no idea if that means he’s able to be optioned down to New Orleans if they wanted to switch Sosa into that role when Pedro returned. Fortunately, it’s a good problem to have, and it’s Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph’s problem to deal with. Another consideration is to shop Sosa around, but I don’t know that the Mets have any glaring holes that are desperate for filling. Getting some minor league depth in pitching or second base is always nice, but it’s not a priority or urgency in any way.

Beltran will be back Tuesday, hopefully Alou will be too. Valentin will also be back before long. It seems clear that Carlos Gomez is going down, and at least Newhan or Ben Johnson. It would also appear that Ruben Gotay will go down when Valentin returns, as you can only have so many back-up infielder bench guys, and we all know that Franco’s not going anywhere. Once the lineup starts coming back together, I expect the Mets to put together a real win streak, where they go out and dominate the competition.

I probably won’t be at Shea for the Philly series, despite being at over a third of the Met home games this season, which means my 13th Met game probably won’t be until June 23rd as part of my Saturday pack. Going three weeks without being at a game almost feels weird with the rate I’ve been in attendance over the past two years.

Bad Spring doesn’t mean Bad Season

Mar 28, 2007 05:11 PM

Just a couple of more days until the season starts, and the Mets still seem to have plenty to figure out after they tied the club record for most losses in spring training today. Duaner Sanchez is sidelined for at least a couple of months and after what amounts to about a year off, will he even be as good as he was at the beginning of last year? Will Heilman still be able to be good this year with his starting ambitions and his tendonitis? How long does Shawn Green get before he gets benched for Milledge, and is Milledge ready to be a major-league contributor? What about Jose Valentine and second base? Can Anderson Hernandez learn to hit major league pitching well enough to take his job if he struggles? The starting rotation is either old or mostly untested, which leaves one question. Is this going to keep the Mets from getting to the World Series, where both the organization and fans expect them to be?

I believe that it won’t keep them from it. Spring training games mean nothing, and the players know this. The beginning of the season is full of motivating to get pumped and get into the game. First they open the season by watching the Cardinals ceremony, reminding them of their failure last year, and I’m sure the reporters there that day won’t be hesitant to ask them about it. The next series, on Friday, is Atlanta’s home opener. While none of the current Mets really have connections to the Mets struggles at Turner Field and with the Braves, they’re still a division rival who wants their title as Champions of the East back. If that wasn’t enough they come home Monday to play the home opener in front of 55 thousand fans whose last glimpse of the Mets was watching Wainwright’s pitch go past Beltran for strike three. They open against the Phillies who many people have picked to win the division this year, Shortstop Jimmy Rollins included.

The Mets have enough offense to get some runs produced, plenty of speed, and good defense in most positions. While everyone points to the Mets rotation as the weak point of the team, they do it from a pessimistic standpoint. Who’s to say John Maine, Oliver Perez, and Mike Pelfrey aren’t going to be good this year? These statements aren’t made out of recent history, as there is very little of it, and most of it’s good. John Maine and Perez pitched well last year, and came through when they were needed in the playoffs. Despite being decimated by injuries, it wasn’t the Mets starting pitching that kept them from the World Series last year.

There were many candidates for the 5th starting spot in spring, and while most of them didn’t pitch so well, it is only spring. Pelfrey will get his shot by mid-April and if he doesn’t succeed, chances are one of these other guys has been pitching well in New Orleans and can come up and pitch.

Omar Minaya shouldn’t be forgotten either. It’s perfectly legitimate to expect that he could make some moves and bring in help where it’s needed mid-season. However, without having to even do anything, the Mets will bring in a top, Hall of Fame destined pitcher around the trade deadline in Pedro Martinez. Is anyone else involved in a playoff run at the time going to be able to do as much to improve the rotation?