Mets reinstates Noah Syndergaard from the 60-day casualty list

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Noah Syndergaard is finally back in the majors as the Mets reinstated the right-hander from the 60-day injured list. Syndergaard will begin the second game of New York’s double headers with the Marlins today, officially serving as the 29th man for the double bill. Catcher Chance Sisco was intended for use to make room on the 40-man roster.

It was almost exactly two years since Syndergaard last appeared in a big league game, throwing seven innings in a 7-6 Mets win over the Braves on September 29, 2019. The former All-Star was then operated on by Tommy John in March 2020 and was originally scheduled to return mid-season, but a bout of elbow infection delayed Syndergaard’s return even further.

Now the man they call “Thor” will only have a cameo or two in the Mets’ final games, though Syndergaard will certainly feel reassured having some real game action under his belt before another long offseason. Syndergaard is not expected to function as a real starting pitcher as he will serve as the opener today and could see work coming out of the bullpen for all of the other gigs.

Syndergaard’s prolonged absence was far from the only thing that went wrong at the 2021 Mets, and since some pitchers don’t look quite themselves on their first outings after TJ surgery, it’s no guarantee that a healthy Syndergaard would have done so for a mid-season boost, even after reaching its forecast recovery time.

Between a 2017 season that was limited to 30 1/3 innings due to injury and now the 2020-21 campaigns, Syndergaard has already lost three seasons in his short MLB career. By the time he was able to pitch, Syndergaard looked like a top-of-the-rotation arm, with a 3.31 ERA, 26.4% strikeout rate, and 20.7K-BB% over 716 innings of 2015-19.

It’s one of the winter’s most intriguing free agent cases as Syndergaard is set to go on the free market by the end of the year. It can certainly be argued that the Mets Syndergaard should make a qualifying offer, given that a one-year contract in the range of $ 20 million means getting into a longer-term deal in the 2022-23 offseason. Keeping Syndergaard would also provide some depth of rotation in the event that Marcus Stroman leaves in free representation.

On the flip side, the Mets could have a natural reservation about paying $ 20 million to a pitcher that was essentially missing two full years. With Robinson canoe‘s contract is back on the books, the Mets will have less payroll space to either such notable free agents as Stroman, Syndergaard, Javier Baez or Michael Conforto, or to get a suitable replacement for the roster. On the other hand, owner Steve Cohen might not see the luxury tax cap as an obstacle to the next president of the Mets, and Cohen might be more motivated to spend big after his club’s disappointing season.

From Syndergaard’s point of view, he’ll get at least a sneak peek to prove he’s healthy, even if a handful of innings won’t necessarily allay the concerns of interested teams looking to sign him this winter. His free agent market could be hampered by the specter of draft-pick compensation if he turned down the QO, but Syndergaard’s cap is high enough that an enterprising team might still be ready to make the leap after more than a guaranteed year dare.

New York called on Sisco from the Orioles in June, and the catcher appeared in just five games with the Mets at the big league level. Sisco has had some respectable numbers serving part-time with the O’s over the past two seasons, but his defensive battles and a huge lack of production early in 2021 saw the Orioles part ways with the former top prospect. During the entire season, Sisco only achieved .149 / .241 / .189 over 83 combined record appearances with New York and Baltimore.

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