The price for the hard-throwing right will be extremely high as he isn’t a free agent until after the 2021 season. While injuries have troubled him throughout his Major League career, Syndergaard’s numbers are impressive. Dominant in each of the last four seasons, with a FIP below 3.25 in each year since his rookie season, the Mets will see Syndergaard as an ace.
Unfortunately for Brodie van Wagenen, he hasn’t been pitching like that this year. His 4.68 ERA is one of the Mets’ many troubles in 2019, and has contributed to their second-worst National League record. Syndergaard is still an asset, but there’s no doubt his value has taken a considerable hit this year. The Padres, Brewers and Astros will point out this seasons struggles and his durability concerns in negotiations.
Once again, the Mets are between a rock and a hard place. Having traded away prospects in the offseason, flipping Syndergaard would indicate a shift in approach from van Wagenen, who talked the talk about the Mets ahead of the season. Meanwhile, many fans will hope to see the farm restocked after flipping Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn to the Seattle Mariners in the trade that saw Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano go to Citi Field. Kelenic and Dunn are both top 100 prospects, while Diaz and Cano have endured a disastrous first few months in New York.
The Astros, Brewers and Padres all have the depth of farm to construct a tempting deal for Syndergaard. Even if van Wagenen considers a deal, though, it’s likely the potential suitors will not be willing to part with the sort of package that the Mets might accept. Such is often the way with selling teams, Syndergaard’s poor 2019 has drastically weakened the prospect return.
The Mets will want more than that. Milwaukee, Houston and San Diego might be hesitant to pull the trigger even at that level.
Before this season, sending the Mets a combination of top 100 guys, perhaps including a top 50 player, was at least a debate. After his 2019 struggles, it’s harder to justify that sort of trade, especially with his injury record.
Talking down the prospect haul for a controllable pitcher with Syndergaard’s stuff and a track record of ace-like performance feels bizarre. Teams have become incredibly reluctant to deal prospects in recent seasons, however, and we’ve seen a new downside for the former first-round pick this year.
For the buying teams, this a chance to buy low on a pitcher who has Cy Young level seasons in him. For the Mets, this is the ultimate sell-low. Selling low is never a good idea. Even more so in the shadow of their offseason moves.
Barring a surprisingly high offer, the Mets should resist the temptation to use Syndergaard to restock their farm. Give him a chance to rebuild his value in the second half and re-evaluate in the winter.