NEW YORK METS: A 2020 Syndergaard Strategy

By Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan and

BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY- With arguably the best starting rotation in Major League Baseball, a question has crept into the minds of the blue and orange faithful and possible suitors across the league: Who will the Mets keep- Noah Syndergaard or Zach Wheeler? Given the fact that the Mets would be, most likely, ridding themselves of Todd Frazier’s $9 million contract to free agency (the second highest paid player on the roster in 2019), the Mets can, most likely, afford both pitchers for at least one more season.

The Mets seem ready to back the Brinks truck up for 2020 unrestricted free agent Zach Wheeler- his market value is estimated to be: a four-year contract worth $94 million (about $23 million per year). Maybe Wheeler could offer them a loyalty discount. In their next move, the Mets should wait for the arbitrator’s decision on Syndergaard’s 2020 salary before reaching a decision on whether to keep him or not. He is entering his third year of arbitration. It is clear, by his tweets, that Syndergaard not only likes playing in New York, but knows that the Mets are on the brink of something special in 2020.

Unless both sides can agree on a figure before January, for the 2020 season, the team will submit a salary recommendation to the arbitration panel, as will Syndergaard and his agent.  Of note: he is a CAA client, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s former agency. The panel will then choose one salary or the other to award to Syndergaard.  The Mets must make a decision at that point in time, mid-January.


Last season, after arbitration, Syndergaard saw his salary double from $2,975,000 (2018) to $6,000,000 (2019). If, as a result of arbitration, his salary doubles (again) to $12 million (2020), the Mets should absolutely cut ties with Syndergaard and trade him for a game-changing, big-stick outfielder or third-baseman. They could also reallocate the cash owed to him towards the contract of a shut-down relief pitcher.  Based on statistics and accolades, is no reason why the Mets should pay him, still under team control, more than or equal to 2018 Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom ($13 million in 2020).


If the panel’s decision sets Syndergaard’s salary between $6,000,000 and $9,000,000 for 2020, the Mets should do everything in their power to re-sign him.  Regardless of the ridicule that he faced when he asked for a personal catcher, which, by the way, I justified in most cases, Syndergaard has been one of the best, most consistent pitchers in the entire league. The Mets could, absolutely, use his services if the price is right. To put his statistics in perspective:

  • ERA: 44th – ranked higher than Masahiro Tanaka, for example
  • Quality Starts: 24th – ranked higher than Tanaka, for example
  • Innings pitched: 16th – ranked higher than Wheeler, for example
  • Pitches per inning: 17th – ranked higher than Gerrit Cole, and even Max Scherzer for example

If it heads there, which, I suspect that it will- the arbitration panel’s decision on Syndergaard’s salary is expected mid-January. Until then, let the speculation commence.


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