The calm before Major League Baseball’s winter storm is just settling in, and the forecast is calling for more chaos than we anticipated. That’s because on Wednesday, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported that the New York Mets are “seriously considering” trading Noah Syndergaard.
There’s been speculation about the Mets potentially trading Syndergaard this winter. It really started during the regular season, when there were reports he could be moved at the July 31 trade deadline. That didn’t happen, but with new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who happens to be Jacob deGrom’s former agent, taking over, the odds have apparently increased.
This report is now the strongest indication yet that a trade could happen. If the Mets are serious about it, Syndergaard will join Cleveland Indians’ right-handers Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco as the best starting pitchers available by trade. That’s a pretty loaded market already.
Only injuries and illness have really slowed Syndergaard over the last two seasons. And while there might be some durability concerns now arising from that, Syndergaard is too good when healthy to discount. Over 86 career starts, he’s posted a 2.93 ERA while striking out 573 batters over 518 1/3 innings.
Heyman adds that at least six teams have shown serious interest. Here, we’ll focus on four teams that we believe would really benefit from the boost Syndergaard would provide, and another that could make him the face of their hopeful ascension.
The Astros have added an elite starting pitcher in trades each of the last two years. In 2016, Justin Verlander was brought over from the Detroit Tigers in a deal that boosted Houston to a World Series title. Last winter, Gerrit Cole was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates and went on to have a monster season.
Those two men already make up a dominant duo, but with former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and 2018 All-Star Charlie Morton possibly leaving in free agency, not to mention Lance McCullers Jr. already out for the season with Tommy John surgery, Houston should have motivation to add another ace.
Who better than Syndergaard?
Despite their past dealings, the Astros still have enough high-end prospects to make such a deal.
Syndergaard’s still only 25, and he’s under team control through 2021, meaning Houston could tap into his true prime for a manageable price.
A lot of the same points that applied to Houston also apply to the Chicago Cubs. They already have Jon Lester. Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks and Cole Hamels, who’s $20 million option was exercised last month. They also have Yu Darvish, who appeared in just eight games last season due to injury and who’s future is no sure thing at this point.
In other words, the Cubs could really use a top-end starter. And again, who better than Syndergaard?
The young flamethrower would certainly bring another dimension to Chicago’s staff. The other starters don’t feature the blow away stuff “Thor” does. The Cubs don’t have the prospects Houston does, which means they’d likely have to trade from the major league squad. The good news is they’re loaded with position players, and could afford including an Ian Happ in the deal. Or, who knows, maybe Kris Bryant? Maybe not the latter actually, but there could be a match.
The Brewers were previously connected to Jacob deGrom, so it would make sense to switch their focus now to Syndergaard. Manager Craig Counsell found a way to get the most out of his limited starting pitching options last season, even using relievers or “initial out-getters” to start postseason games. He could clearly use an ace starter to build around.
It also makes sense for Milwaukee just to make sure Syndergaard doesn’t end up in Chicago or Los Angeles, which would hamper their bid to make a World Series run over the next three seasons.