So here’s what people are saying about Mets super-prospect Noah Syndergaard after his first Spring Training start on Monday in which he threw two shutout innings:
— Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen: “He’s the whole package.”
— Mets manager Terry Collins: “He’s got a hook from hell.”
— Braves Ryan Doumit, who actually singled off of Syndergaard Monday: “I didn’t know anything about the kid before today, but I’ll remember his name now.”
— Anonymous scout: “He can get big league hitters out right now.”
Yet there is almost no possible way Noah Syndergaard will make the roster out of Spring Training. The Mets will make all sorts of excuses — he needs more minor league innings, he needs to command his pitchers better — but it all comes down to money.
The Mets can delay his eventual free agency by a year by keeping him in the minors through April. They can avoid an additional arbitration year by keeping him in Vegas until around mid-June. That’s what they did with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler each of the past two seasons, and there is no doubt they will do the same thing this year with Syndergaard.
And that is just disgusting.
If Sandy Alderson really wants to win 90 games (boy, will that haunt him for years, just like Fred Wilpon’s “significant games in September” comment has hounded him), he should field the best possible team from day one. And if Syndergaard is ready, he should be in the rotation.
Last year Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was roundly criticized for allowing Jose Fernandez to break camp with the team. People were outraged that he did not at least stick him in the minors until May to delay his free agency. But Loria did the right thing, rewarding a player who was ready to go. And all Fernandez did was win Rookie of the Year with the best rookie pitching performance since Dwight Gooden.
Oh, and speaking of Gooden, if Sandy Alderson were around back then, Gooden would have spent two more seasons in the minors. Those two seasons (Rookie of the Year, Cy Young) turned out to be the best of his career.
I can sort of understand delaying Noah Syndergaard until May. After all, it gives the Mets one more year of control and he would only miss two or three starts. That’s not a bad trade-off. But wasting half a season in the minors is just plain wrong.
But as we have learned, money speaks loudest in Flushing, There is no reason to think that will end anytime soon.