[I]n the intermediate period between being given the qualifying offer on Nov. 7 and Wednesday’s 5 p.m. deadline to accept or reject, Syndergaard experienced radio silence from the only team for which he had ever played in the majors while other clubs began to woo him. No team more than the Angels.
Let’s keep in mind during this period the Mets didn’t have a general manager or manager in place. (They have since announced former Angels GM Billy Eppler.) With the uncertainty around the organization and Syndergaard appearing to believe another team valued him more, it’s reasonable to understand his desire to move on.
Syndergaard, 29, has made 121 appearances in the majors in his career, all with the Mets. He’s 47-31 with a 3.32 ERA (119 ERA+) and 777 strikeouts in 718 innings. When he’s on his game, he’s as good as anyone in baseball. He was an All-Star who got Cy Young votes in 2016 and looked like a Cy Young frontrunner through a handful of starts in 2017 before falling injured. He was very good in 2018 and then not so much in 2019. He missed all of 2020 and all but two innings in 2021 in recovering from Tommy John surgery, but now says he’s fully recovered.
Still, he called it the hardest decision of his life on Friday.
Syndergaard had previously expressed sentiment that he wanted to remain with the Mets for the long haul and it appears that the relationship deteriorated in just over a week. Via Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Syndergaard and his agency didn’t go back to the Mets with the chance to match the Angels’ offer, but that also might have been for a reason.
Their general manager, Perry Minasian, insisted on a sit-down meeting and flew cross-country to have dinner last Friday night with Syndergaard. During that meal, Minasian put on a full-court press, explaining how the Angels envisioned deploying him, keeping him healthy and improving him. Of course, the money mattered. Ultimately, the sides agreed at $21 million.
With the Angels, Syndergaard finds himself in a good situation in that they already plan on using a six-man rotation to accommodate the two-way playing of Shohei Ohtani. As such, overuse coming off the surgery shouldn’t be a concern.
As for the Mets, they now have Eppler in place as their general manager. The rotation heading toward 2022 looks to be Jacob deGrom, Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson and Tylor Megill. As the team looks to contend, surely they’d like another frontline type arm with deGrom, which also goes to help the organizational depth.