Over the past week, rumors of the Mets potentially trading Noah Syndergaard have come to light. Originally brought up by SNY, Jon Heyman expanded on this by saying that as many as six teams are actively interested in a trade.
For a team that has become infamous for doing some extremely dumb things, trading Noah Syndergaard at age 26 with three years of control left would be the pinnacle of #LOLMets. To put it bluntly, if the Mets trade Syndergaard, they’ll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of their lives.
Even ignoring the fact that he’s young and relatively cheap, Syndergaard is an astoundingly good pitcher. In 2018, even with time missed due to illness and injury, he ranked 17th in baseball in fWAR among all pitchers with at least 150 innings pitched. He had the 18th-highest strikeout to walk ratio, his 2.80 FIP was the seventh best, and his 3.03 ERA was the 15th-lowest in the sport. That caliber of talent isn’t something that the Mets can just bungle themselves into again.
It has been suggested that if the Mets do end up trading Syndergaard, a good move would be to sign a free agent pitcher like Patrick Corbin or Dallas Keuchel to offset the loss. It’s worth noting that both of those pitchers are more expensive, older, and not as good as Syndergaard. Also, Corbin missed the entire 2014 season and part of the 2015 season because of Tommy John surgery, and Keuchel missed about two months of the 2017 season with a nagging neck injury. Assuming the Mets are a team that wants to win, which is questionable, why wouldn’t they just sign one of those starters and keep the elite pitcher that they already have?
The potential trade begins to make less sense than it already did once you remember that the Mets are a team that lives and dies by elite pitching. With such a cheap and young pitching core, keeping that pitching and adding some help on offense is the best plan, but the front office might have other ideas.
You may think that’s as bad as it gets, but wait, there’s more! One of the teams that has had rumored interest is the San Diego Padres, and recently some potential names for a trade have come out. One rumor mentions Manuel Margot and Austin Hedges as pieces that could be coming back to the Mets. If you don’t know who Margot and Hedges are, Margot is a former top-20 prospect who hasn’t been able to find his swing in the majors, while Hedges is a 26-year-old catcher who can’t hit and has issues staying on the field for most of the season. But hold on, it gets even better!
Margot is a center fielder, and if there’s one thing the Mets don’t need, it’s another outfielder. The real fun starts when SNY floats the idea of the Mets trading Brandon Nimmo to the Indians for one of their starters. So, if this ends up being the case, the Mets’ master plan is to trade their semi-ace for a bad outfielder and a bad catcher while trading their on-base-machine outfielder for a pitcher who is older and not as good as the one you had in the first place. That seems like multiple steps back for the team.
I know I’ve said this before, but trust me, it gets better. A continuation of the original Padres rumor clarifies that the Mets aren’t only interested in Margot and Hedges. In addition to that duo, the Mets are intrigued by the Padres’ pitching prospects. Because who needs an elite young pitcher when you can trade him for a few prospects whose 99.9th percentile outcome is the same pitcher that’s being trading away. It really is a genius strategy when you break it down like that. We all saw how well that Miguel Cabrera trade worked out for the Marlins back in 2007.
To really wrap things up, this entire string of Syndergaard rumors is incredibly idiotic. If the Mets plan on doing a total rebuild, sure trade him for some top prospects and gear up for the future. But they’re not, and they insist that they want to compete next season and beyond. Realistically, this all comes back to the Mets’ reluctance to spend money. While an actual big-market team would do something intelligent to help the team, like signing a Patrick Corbin or Manny Machado, the Mets must make themselves drastically worse before they can be marginally better. If the Mets trade Noah Syndergaard, it’ll end up being one of the biggest mistakes that they’ve ever made.