baseball

The Options For The Mets Without Noah Are There

Noah Syndergaard became the latest victim of a hard thrower that was added to the long list of Tommy John surgery. With baseball on hiatus, and with a season that is yet to be determined, this is the proper time for recovery.

#34 Noah Syndegaard at spring training 2020/Neil Miller/ The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Though the circumstances, for Syndergaard, for all of us, was not expected. If anything, this Coronavirus Pandemic that has caused a shutdown for baseball works to an advantage of the Mets.

It works, also, to the advantage of Chris Sale and  the Boston Red Sox. Their ace left hander was shut down last week and will undergo ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery to his left elbow.

Another Tommy John surgery procedure, thnis time for Syndergaard and Sale. That adds to the growing list of 25 of the hardest throwing pitchers since 2018 In that group, 11, for Tommy John surgery.

“THE HUMAN ARM , ELBOW, ETC. WAS NOT MADE TO DO WHAT THEY DO.”

Yes, they were not made to throw with that consistent rate of 100. Not for a fastball, slider, curve, or any pitch. The arms, elbows, can only take so much.

The Mets did not expect this. Neither did the Red Sox. This has become an epidemic for pitchers, and for baseball the shutdown can give some time to think about ways to change the statistics.

The game, as insiders say, can’t have enough pitching at this rate. So, unless the habits change, just like we have adjusted  with this Coronavirus Pandemic, there will be more of the Tommy John situations in the long run,

So the Mets are now in this adjustment, unexpected, and it’s more than assuring their roster is safe and healthy from the Coronavirus. They need another arm to fill the void. If and when this season begins, curtailed or not, there are options. 

And like the Red Sox, without Sale for 12-18 months as a recovery period, pitching is that commodity. You never have enough and the Mets at one time had that viable option to replace a starter in the rotation that went down.

We saw that over the years with the Mets, once an organization that had the top pitching prospects in the game. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom. Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, and Syndergaard.

Oh, by the way, Syndergaard joins that list of former or Mets pitchers that are on that list of Tommy John surgery. Wheeler, now with the Phillies, and you wonder if the Mets should have granted him the contract.

But that was then. This is now. The Mets don’t have the organizational depth with pitching as they once built under previous GM’s Omar Minaya and Sandy Alderson, many that were  traded for position players and deals that have not gone to their advantage. 

The options for the Mets, we will get to that in a moment as to how they can fill the void with the absence of Noah Syndergaard, who was to follow deGrom in the rotation.

Opening Day, tomorrow, was for deGrom. Syndergaard was to follow Saturday at Citi Field. Many connected with baseball, including yours truly, were tabbing the Mets as a favorite to win the NL East with that duo in control.

They were headed to the postseason, perhaps a NL wild card, because Degrom and Syndergaard were that one-two in the rotation. You can’t get any better than that.

Jake DeGrom at spring training 2020/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

The numbers tell the story. And back-to-back Cy Young awards for Jacob deGrom, you don’t need a better example. Syndergaard, developed a slider with velocity, and it was all good until the unexpected developments of Tuesday. 

Perhaps, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, duo of the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals, are just as good. 

But that old adage of, “you never have enough pitching” pertains now for the Mets.  

So where do the Mets go from here? Assume there is a resumption of baseball activities, to be determined if and when, there are options for the Mets to fill the void.

Matt Harvey? One insider said the Mets are not exploring a reunion with the Right-hander. “A Dark Knight” reunion in Flushing is not going to happen,” he said.

Harvey, without a team, brings that baggage and the insider said he observed a fastball that had no command last year  with the Angels. Harvey, then, gave up four home runs in a May start against the Twins. The $11 million dollar investment,  10 starts, a 7.50 ERA.

Though no fault of the Mets in parting ways with Wheeler, now with the Phillies, that looms to now be a major void in their rotation. Then again, it’s the business of baseball.

And a rotation now of deGrom, followed by Marucs Stroman and Steven Matz does not look bad.

GM Brodie Van Wagenen, to his credit, went with depth this offseason with additions of Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello to one-year contracts.. 

Yes, there was that competition for  two starting spots, Now, the three-way competition between Matz, Wacha, and Porcello is answered. 

As the insider said, about Porcello, from watching him up close in Grapefruit League play, “The movement of his curveball and the fastball looked like he could be headed to a comeback year.” 

So assume again, and this is speculation. that Porcello and Wacha have comeback years after allowing a combined 57 home runs in 200 innings with the Red Sox and Cardinals. The Mets were seeing the difference, down in Port St. Lucie, before baseball suspended operations.

There are very few and better options to replace Noah Syndergaard. The Mets don’t want Seth Lugo, projected to come out of the pen, to be that other starter unless they have limited options.

“I could see David Peterson get a shot at a spot,” the insider said about the Mets first round draft pick in 2017 who was slated to start at Triple-A Syracuse.

Walker Lockett, was not expected to make the 26-man roster. Corey Oswalt was not high on the depth chart. Erasmo Ramirez, the 29-year old right-hander and eight-year veteran, signed to a Minor League contract, could be in the mix.

“Saw him throw eight good innings in spring games and will tell you his command of his fastball and slider got some attention,” said the insider. 

So much as their minor league  pitching depth has gone from top to bottom, Van Wagenen, and the 20 other GM’s are never prepared to find a viable arm that goes down unexpectedly.

We have learned Tommy John surgery is successful  The Mets will get through this with some options. Noah Sydergaard, from baseball standards, is young and strong to make a comeback.  

The options are there for the Mets. But no surprise, they will miss the void of the guy they call “Thor.”

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