Today, the Mets extended Qualifying Offers to both pitcher Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Michael Conforto. This year’s QO is valued at $18.4 million. Both players are coming off of odd seasons that will, likely, damped their value on the free agent market.
Conforto, after establishing himself as one of the game’s best outfielders in 2020, had an absolutely miserable 2021 season. While perhaps not quite as bad as his 2016 season, Conforto is entering free agency at the nadir of his perceived value, hitting just 14 home runs and batting .232/.344/.384 in 125 games.
Syndergaard is coming off of two seasons in which he threw a total of one professional inning; Syndergaard required Tommy John surgery before the 2020 season and made one ‘start’ in 2021, but was limited in both pitch count and repertoire during said start.
Both players, two of only a handful of players from the 2015-2016 back to back playoff teams, were thought of as future superstars, for whom a Qualifying Offer would be totally inappropriate to accept. However, both players could very much benefit from the one-year trial a QO would offer, lest they sign for far below their value.
Conforto is a client of Scott Boras, and so the offer will likely be rejected outright in favor of Boras attempting to get Conforto a multi-year deal, though the overall number has to be significantly lower than what the duo would’ve discussed a year ago.
Syndergaard, on the other hand, had publicly campaigned for a QO, and seems likely to accept the deal and use it as a pillow contract to attract either the Mets or another suitor to sign him longterm after the 2022 season.
Both players have until November 17th to accept or reject the offers. If either player rejects the offer, the Mets will receive draft pick compensation in the form of either a draft pick after the first round (if the player signs for more than $50 million) or before the third round (if the player signs for less than $50 million).
This may be the final season for this type of Qualifying Offer, as the owners and MLBPA will be negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement this offseason.