Long-time New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard has signed a one-year, $21 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Syndergaard, who was a free agent, took the extra handful of cash rather than staying with the Mets, who extended him an $18.4 million qualifying offer last week.
Early indications were that the fireballing right-hander would accept the deal, especially toward the end of the Mets’ 2021 season when he addressed the media.
“It’s something I’d be extremely grateful for,” Syndergaard said in late September
. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. It’s definitely something I’m hoping for.”
Instead, the Mets are now rewarded with a compensatory draft pick, between the second or third round, while Syndergaard heads out west.
The 29-year-old has pitched in just two innings since the end of the 2019 season. He missed the entire 2020 campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery and was initially projected to return during the first half of 2021. But setbacks in his rehab pushed his return back to late September when the Mets were all but out of the playoff race.
When healthy, Syndergaard proved that he was one of the top pitchers in the National League. From 2015-18, the hard-throwing right-hander posted a 2.93 ERA and 573 strikeouts in 518.1 innings pitched before arm issues led to a down 2019 campaign in which he posted a 4.28 ERA over 32 starts.
Of course, he’ll need to prove that he can reclaim such pitching dominance in 2022, which is why a qualifying offer from the Mets — an organization he has known for the last six years — made sense as a bridge deal to a larger future contract. Instead, he will be trying to prove himself on an Angels team that has not always been a hospitable location for starting pitchers.
It’s an inauspicious start to life with Billy Eppler — a former Angels exec — as general manager. The 46-year-old is reportedly Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson’s pick to take over
the Mets’ front office. There will also be added importance on retaining fellow free-agent starter Marcus Stroman after his career year with the Mets in 2021.
However, the Mets — an expected big fish on the free-agent market this winter — are now armed with $18.4 million of extra cash that would have been allocated to Syndergaard had he accepted the qualifying offer to go along with that draft pick.