With the 2020 MLB season suspended and Opening Day still at least eight weeks away, the New York Mets endured a significant blow earlier today. As first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Noah Syndergaard suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament and will undergo Tommy John Surgery. Passan noted that it will keep him out until at least April 2021 and likely into the summer months.
According to Joel Sherman, Thor will undergo the operation on Thursday, March 26. The procedure will be done by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery. The Mets released a statement, clarifying that Syndergaard felt discomfort during spring training. An MRI later revealed the tear.
This is a big loss for the top end of the team’s rotation, as the Mets have now lost their number two pitcher behind two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom. Syndergaard finished the 2019 season with a 4.28 ERA, a 3.60 FIP, a 1.23 WHIP, and a 2.5 bWAR in 197.2 innings. The 27-year-old right-hander has been a staple of the rotation since debuting in May 2015 and has posted a 3.31 ERA, a 2.92 FIP, a 1.16 WHIP, and 775 strikeouts in 716 innings.
One of the most pressing roster questions the team had to wrestle with during spring training was whether Steven Matz or Michael Wacha would earn the final spot in the rotation, or whether the club would go with something more unconventional like a six-man rotation. With the injury, this assures that both Wacha and Matz, along with offseason signing Rick Porcello, will have a spot in the starting staff when the season does eventually begin.
Syndergaard was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021 season. It’s unclear how the shutdown resulting from the coronavirus outbreak will affect player’s contracts moving forward, but this could mean that, upon his return, Syndergaard will only have a few more months as a Met before hitting the open market. With Marcus Stroman, Porcello, and Wacha set to become free agents after this year, the team will have to address their quickly-thinning rotation.