By: Kyle Smith
No team can have enough pitching, and if the New York Mets are serious about trading their young starter Noah Syndergaard, the Chicago Cubs or White Sox could find themselves with a nice young piece in their starting rotation.
According to MLB.com’s David Adler, the Cubs would make the most sense for a trade; the White Sox, meanwhile, are listed at No. 3. Jon Heyman reports that the Mets “are seriously considering” moving the pitcher they’ve nicknamed “Thor,” if they could “fill multiple holes with real impact” in a trade.
Syndergaard’s long blonde and curly locks led to him receiving the nickname, as well as his overperforming fastball when he’s on his game. Thor endured immense hardships in 2017, which included him suffering through hand, foot, and mouth disease, taking a long drive off his rib cage, and a strained ligament in his right index finger.
The good news about all of these injuries and ailments is that most of them were just pure bad luck and did not really have anything to do with bad shoulder/throwing mechanics. That being said, his 2017 season included bouts with biceps tendinitis and a partial tear of his right lat muscle, so teams will still be at least somewhat cautious when pursuing his services.
Syndergaard’s 2018 regular-season numbers are very respectable: 13-4 record with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Couple that with his 3.97 Strikeout/Walk Ratio in 2018 (155K/39BB), and general managers are chomping at the bit to try to acquire the 26-year-old fireballer.
The Cubs make the most sense as a potential trade partner, especially if they want to include Kris Bryant in the deal. Then again, Bryant-for-Jacob-deGrom in a one-for-one deal would make more sense, as reported last month by SCENE Chicago.
The White Sox could beat the Cubs to the punch, though, if they decide to move some on from some of its up-and-coming prospects for a guy who has some playoff experience on his resume.
All of that said, buyer beware: In 2018, Syndergaard had his worst season in terms of walks and hits given up per nine innings of work. He also hit a career-high seven batters. During his career-best season in 2016, when the Mets played the San Francisco Giants in a one-game, Wild Card playoff, he only hit two batters and finished with a 2.60 ERA.
Syndergaard is under team control until 2022, but like Bryant, he can file for arbitration every offseason until he becomes an unrestricted free agent. With his past injuries and illness in mind, Syndergaard shouldn’t demand too much in arbitration unless he becomes a Cy Young Award candidate again.
According to Fangraphs, Thor isn’t too far away from competing for the Cy Young in 2019. His 4.2 Wins Above Replacement stat line put him tied for 15th with Kyle Freeland as the 15 best pitchers in all of baseball last season.
I don’t know if the Cubs would be willing to give up on their former MVP winner in Bryant, but the White Sox could definitely include Avisail Garcia in the mix. Garcia is still fairly young, but unlike Bryant, his upside and consistency at maintaining All-Star level play aren’t nearly in the same category as KB. A former All-Star, Garcia could be an intriguing addition for the Mets as they look for potential upgrades in the outfield.
My consensus? It’s a good possibility that Syndergaard lands with the Cubs or Sox prior to February.