Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are both talented starting pitchers. Everything seems to be going swimmingly for the New York Mets starters, except for their both pitching for the Mets.
The Mets are at a standstill right now. The team is unsure of their direction in 2019. Will they begin a rebuild and hope for a better future? Or will they keep their important pieces and go for it? It seems the fate of both deGrom and Syndergaard lie in this decision. If the team was to rebuild, they would definitely move one of the two. The return on either starter would be irresistible to any front office.
Even if the Mets stick with a few key pieces and go for it the next couple of years, I can’t imagine the team carrying on with both pitchers. Both remain under the Mets control for a few more years, what with deGrom having two more years of arbitration and Syndergaard having three. Over that time span, both will get increasingly more expensive and eventually, a decision will have to be made.
Not to say the Mets won’t keep both through arbitration and then let them both walk, as that would be a very Mets thing to do. But if they had to choose, which pitcher will give the Mets the most bang for their buck?
deGrom is more expensive than Syndergaard. This is not a surprise. deGrom was Rookie of the Year in 2014, retired the side on 10 pitches in his first All-Star appearance, and currently has the lowest ERA in MLB at 1.68 and is fighting for the Cy Young. He is expensive, yes, but he is worth it. deGrom is a fierce competitor. He is there to work hard and win ball games. While that doesn’t always happen (to no fault of his own), the part of the game he can control rarely comes up short.
The Mets are cheap. This is also not a surprise. deGrom has mentioned his interest in an extension more than a few times and the Mets have yet to do anything about it. Even when his agent, Brodie van Wagenen, told the Mets to either pay or trade deGrom, the Mets did nothing.
If the Mets were basing their decision on which one stays and which one goes on money alone, the obvious choice would be Syndergaard. His injury history will knock his value down more than a few notches, which is music to the Mets’ ears.
If the Mets want a low salary (which they often do), they will go with Thor. If the Mets want to win, they should go with deGrom.
deGrom is 30. He is right in the middle of his career, and he only seems to get better with age. His pitching is a thing of beauty. He has great velocity, but that is the least important part of his game. deGrom pitches best under pressure, which works out great for a Mets team with mediocre defense, and gets himself out of nearly every jam in which he finds himself. Bases loaded with no outs? No problem. deGrom will strike out the next three and leave every runner stranded. It’s almost as if deGrom’s pitches are filled with intelligence, and it is incredible to watch.
Syndergaard, though younger, is bound to burn out faster. There is no way Syndergaard can sustain a career throwing how he does. Thor’s game is entirely velocity. Yeah, the 93 MPH slider is filthy, but throwing 100 MPH is not special anymore, it’s dangerous. Syndergaard got so caught up in his velocity and wanting throw harder, that he trained so hard and messed up his muscles, leaving him sidelined for most of the 2017 season. If he keeps pitching the way he does, his arm will pretty much, well, die. Syndergaard was great for the Mets when he first came up for their 2015 World Series run and all of 2016, but ever since that lat injury in 2017, he has never really been the same.
The Mets have two very talented, very different starting pitchers on their team. If it came down to it, and the Mets had to extend one or the other, the choice should be deGrom. Yes, deGrom will be more expensive to lock down, but the payoff would be exponentially more rewarding than it would if they were to resign Syndergaard. Syndergaard is a very good pitcher, but he relies too heavily on velocity and has gotten hurt in the past because of it. deGrom is the better option if the Mets want to win.
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