Mets mailbag: Figuring out the inevitable Noah Syndergaard contract mess
You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Mets.
With Noah [Syndergaard] out all of 2020 and probably at least half of 2021 and probably due to receive $8-9 million in arbitration, would the Mets consider offering him a four-year, $50 million contract, and if he declines, release him at the end of 2020? — Mike
Syndergaard’s Tommy John surgery — which will likely keep him out until at least June 2021 — leaves the Mets in a tough spot, but offering a rehabbing pitcher a contract extension before he throws another pitch carries significant risk. If Syndergaard can return and pitch at a respectable level for even a half-season, the contract he receives in his last year of arbitration-eligibility won’t seem like misspent money for the Mets. And if the team is removed from playoff contention at the 2021 trade deadline, Syndergaard will become a trade chip. Simply releasing Syndergaard would be the worst of all options, unless you had some kind of indication his rehab would cost him all of next season.
Would it be worth it to have a really short season (40 to 80 games) just to have some activity to lead into 2021? — @JonCorda
I don’t think you can discount the possibility of an extremely abbreviated season — even one that potentially begins Sept. 1 and plays into November before starting the playoffs — at this point. It would be far from ideal, but if players and owners see an opportunity for dollars (and postseason television revenue is the key), they are likely to explore it. From an industry perspective, going a full year without games would be a staggering blow. From a player perspective, any kind of organized baseball activity would be welcomed to help make the transition to next season easier.
Any update on the injured Mets players — Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie? — @EDSdt1234
The Mets haven’t provided specific information on any of their injured players other than for general manager Brodie Van Wagenen to recently say the team is “developing individualized programs based on their ever-changing available resources.” Conforto is dealing with an oblique strain that had left him questionable for Opening Day, but typically that is not an injury that would have sidelined him deep into the season. Cespedes was taking live batting practice and balls in the outfield when spring training concluded, but still had to show he could run the bases in his comeback from double heel surgery and multiple ankle fractures. Lowrie was wearing a significant leg brace and the furthest removed from game-ready.
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Would you take Seth Lugo out of the bullpen and put him in the rotation? — @JDRusso 2011
Such a move might be a necessity next season, given the potential number of vacancies in the rotation (Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz are the only healthy starting pitchers signed for 2021). But if this season is played, it probably benefits the Mets to keep Lugo in the bullpen, at least until they can figure out whether Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia are going to rebound from last year’s underwhelming performances. If healthy, a rotation that includes deGrom, Matz, Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha should keep the Mets competitive. Another significant rotation injury might force Lugo into a starting role, regardless of the bullpen’s state.
How is the sale of the team moving along? — @mohrorless
There are no indications anything is close, and with the economy hurting and the uncertainty surrounding all sports leagues, it would be somewhat surprising if a sale is completed this year. More likely, owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz will want to boost the franchise value and try to wait until some sense of normalcy returns.
Is there a reason the Mets have RK for Ralph Kiner on the outfield wall, but no BM for Bob Murphy? — Rick Neale
Both were legendary broadcasters in the franchise’s history, but Kiner was certainly the bigger celebrity given his Hall of Fame playing career and iconic postgame show, “Kiner’s Korner,” that aired on Channel 9 in New York.
But Murphy is a Frick Award winner enshrined in the broadcaster’s wing of the Hall of Fame, so he is probably worthy of mention alongside Kiner. Eventually, the Mets will have to make space for Gary Cohen and Howie Rose (and perhaps Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling), so it could get crowded. Hernandez’s No. 17 — a testament to his playing and television careers — probably should be retired sooner rather than later.
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