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Syndergaard, Conforto and seven other Mets get new deals, avoiding arbitration

FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2019, file photo, New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard winds up during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Miami Marlins in New York. Right-hander Syndergaard has agreed to a $9.7 million, one-year deal with the Mets to avoid salary arbitration. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Noah Syndergaard agreed to a $9.7 million, one-year contract Friday as the New York Mets reached deals with all nine of their players who were eligible for arbitration.

Syndergaard is coming off a fairly disappointing 2019 season. He went 10-8 with a 4.28 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 197 2/3 innings while earning $6 million.

He is projected to slot in again behind Mets ace Jacob deGrom, winner of the past two NL Cy Young Awards, in a rotation that also includes righty Marcus Stroman and lefty Steven Matz, both of whom agreed to terms Friday as well. Stroman received a $4.6 million raise to $12 million, and Matz got a bump from $2,625,000 to $5 million.

Outfielders Michael Conforto ($8 million), Brandon Nimmo ($2,175,000) and Jake Marisnick ($3,312,500) also settled, as did relievers Edwin Díaz ($5.1 million), Seth Lugo ($2 million) and Robert Gsellman ($1,225,000).

Syndergaard bristled at pitching to No. 1 catcher Wilson Ramos last season and has had a rocky relationship with the Mets’ front office at times. The pitcher’s name has been mentioned in trade talk on several occasions — including last summer.

But the 6-foot-6, 240-pound right-hander nicknamed Thor has power stuff, good control, an impressive array of pitches and all sorts of upside. He’s 27 years old and under club control for two more seasons.

Syndergaard, an All-Star in 2016, is 47-30 with a 3.31 ERA in five major league seasons. He can become a free agent after the 2021 season.

Díaz was a colossal bust in his first season with the Mets last year and lost his job as closer. He converted 26 saves in 33 chances and served up a whopping 15 home runs in 58 innings while going 2-7 with a 5.59 ERA. Still, the right-hander got a hefty raise from his 2019 salary of $607,425.

Díaz had a 1.96 ERA and led the majors with 57 saves for Seattle in 2018. New York has him penciled back in for the ninth inning at the start of next season.

Stroman was acquired from Toronto for two pitching prospects on July 28 last year, not long after he made his first All-Star team. The fiery 5-foot-7 right-hander from Duke, who grew up near Matz on Long Island about 50 miles from Citi Field, was 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 11 starts for New York to finish 10-13 overall with a 3.22 ERA in 32 starts covering 184 1/3 innings.

Stroman, who turns 29 on May 1, is eligible for free agency following this season.

Conforto, an All-Star in 2017, set career highs last season with 33 homers and 92 RBIs while batting .257 with an .856 OPS in 151 games. He earned $4,025,000 last year and can become a free agent after the 2021 season.

Lugo blossomed into one of baseball’s most valuable relievers last year, a versatile chess piece capable of throwing multiple innings at a time and dominating hitters in a variety of roles. The right-hander went 7-4 with a 2.70 ERA and six saves in 61 outings, a major bright spot in a Mets bullpen that finished 25th in the majors with a 4.95 ERA. He racked up 104 strikeouts in 80 innings while permitting just 56 hits and 16 walks.

The 30-year-old Lugo made $591,875 last season and was eligible for arbitration for the first time.

Associated Press