Noah Syndergaard’s exit gives Billy Eppler a new Mets problem

Noah Syndergaard should be part of the problem. But a talented part of the problem. With lots of upside.

Now, among the many headaches, Billy Eppler will encounter when he begins his Mets GM tenure – and where would you even begin that list? – he has to consider what to do with a problematic rotation, which probably does not now want Syndergaard as a potential solution.

The Conservative agreed to a $ 21 million one-year pact with the angels. It awaited a physical, which is no waste concept here. Syndergaard hit two innings the last two years after the Tommy John operation, a pair of one-inning stints late last season where he did not throw a breaking ball. When the auditions in 2022 go, it was akin to singing the alphabet to try to win a role in a Broadway musical.

But the Angels are desperate to start pitching – so much so that they spent all 20 elections last June on weapons in Perry Minasian’s first draft as general manager. So desperate that they are willing to lose their second-highest pick next June on a starter (Syndergaard) who – if they are lucky – will pitch 140 innings next year. So desperate, in part, because the 2016-20 Angels GM kept trying to correct the pitching and never made enough inventory to hand over anything worthwhile to Minasian.

It was Eppler who in his five angel seasons could never get off to the right start. He won the Shohei Ohtani competition, got a strong COVID-shortened 2020 season from Dylan Bundy (who then bombed in 2021) and made a nice little deal for Patrick Sandoval, who looked set to flourish last year for Minasian. But there just wasn’t enough talent and progress. Not enough, for example, from the drafts, though 2020 No. 10 overall pick Reid Detmers, even after a terrible major league cameo in 2021 (7.40 ERA in five starts), has lifted.

Noah Syndergaard signs with the angels.
Noah Syndergaard signs with the angels.
USA TODAY Sport

It will be crucial for the Eppler Mets administration to reach the draft immediately. The prospect base he inherits is not deep, especially in pitching. And the Mets look like they’ll get a quick chance to fix that. Because they did not sign first-round pick Kumar Rocker last year, the Mets will have 11th and 14th picks in the first round. If Syndergaard and Michael Conforto both reject the $ 18.4 million qualifying bid before the deadline on Wednesday at 17, the Mets will have two more picks before the third round. In all, the Mets could look at six of about the top 100 picks and a quick chance, if done well, to remake their system.

That is, unless they sign a player with a qualifying bid, in which case they would lose the 14th overall pick. With Eduardo Rodriguez agreeing with the Tigers, Robbie Ray and Justin Verlander are the last free-agent qualified starters who would cost the Mets who choose to sign. And Eppler will have to decide – or Sandy Alderson or Steve Cohen – whether this is a year to horde committee or, because they have so many, to sacrifice one.

Robbie Ray is a free agent after an impressive season with the Blue Jays.
Robbie Ray is a free agent after an impressive season with the Blue Jays.
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Mets, however, can not stand to clap with this rotation. They can hope for health from Jacob deGrom and Carlos Carrasco, and that Taijuan Walker in the first half of 2021 is Taijuan Walker in full season in 2022. But deGrom will sign up for 34 years in 2022 and did not show up in a match after the 7 July with mysterious sufferings that were never fully. defined publicly. Carrasco will sign up as a 35-year-old and comes after a long season with 12 starts with a 6.04 ERA. Walker went from an All-Star to an NL worst (minimum 10 starts) 7.14 ERA in the second half. In the best case scenario, Tylor Megill and David Peterson, who combined for a 4.95 ERA in 33 starts, would be on Triple-A for depth.

Syndergaard would have given more uncertainty. But also more potential talents. The angels are trying to play upwards. Syndergaard is only 29. After missing most of two seasons after the Tommy John operation, Jameson Taillon was able to give the 2021 Yankees 29 starts and 144 1/3 innings. Can Syndergaard offer the Angels something similar? For Syndergaard, he receives more than the qualifying offer and, if he performs well, a chance to hit free agency by 30 next season, to always get rid of the qualifying offer.

Justin Verlander is a free agent.
Justin Verlander is a free agent.
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Eppler can now redirect Syndergaard’s potential money elsewhere once it has become clear that the cost of starting pitching will be significant. Andrew Heaney, who started the most games (66) for the Eppler Angels in 2016-20, received a $ 8.5 million one-year deal from the Dodgers after a terrible season based on underlying statistics. Underlying statistics also convinced the Tigers to risk five years to $ 77 million on Rodriguez, who missed the 2020 season due to a serious heart disease contracted after receiving COVID. Jose Berrios, a season lacking free agency, agreed to a seven-year $ 131 million extension with the Blue Jays on Tuesday. And Syndergaard – two rounds in two years – is on the doorstep of the fourth-largest one-year free agent deal ever after two for Roger Clemens and one for Josh Donaldson.

So is Eppler trying to go to the top of the field for Ray, who is likely to be named as the AL Cy Young winner on Wednesday, Kevin Gausman, or trying to retain Marcus Stroman? I’m guessing Max Scherzer would not come to Queens. Ville Verlander? Is it worth playing on Jon Gray’s upside that Anthony DeSclafani can repeat his strong 2021, or that there is health in Carlos Rodon’s arm? They are all free agents, but far from free.

Eppler arrives with so much on the plate, including hiring a manager, most of a coaching staff and trying to finally permeate the Mets a championship culture and decision-making processes. He also has a starting problem from the start, just like he had in Anaheim. Can he solve it this time?

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