If the New York Mets decide to make deals between now and the trade deadline, these five teams should be ready with an offer for Noah Syndergaard.
With new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen in place, the New York Mets made an offseason trade for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz that signified something of a win-now mentality. But entering Wednesday they linger just below .500 (33-34), five games back in the NL East and 4.5 games back in the Wild Card race. If a move to being a trade deadline seller comes, Noah Syndergaard is probably their top potential trade chip.
Syndergaard has been a bit up-and-down on his way to a 4.45 ERA so far this season (14 starts). But his FIP is just shy of a run better than that ERA (3.47), and his K/9 (8.9) and BB/9 (2.2) rates are on par with his track record.
In five of his last six starts, Syndergaard has gone at least six innings while allowing three runs or less (the minimum requirements for a quality start, with more than those requirements four times in that span). Going back to his shutout of the Cincinnati Reds on May 2, he has a 3.27 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 12 walks over his last eight starts (55 innings).
This past Sunday Syndergaard allowed just one hit over seven shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies, with seven strikeouts and two walks. That “vintage Thor” performance prompted Mets’ pitching coach Dave Eiland to say Syndergaard had his swagger back.
Syndergaard has two years of arbitration-eligibility left, so he’s a valuable trade asset if Van Wagenen moves things in that direction. That team control also makes him a key piece of the Mets’ immediate future, as they try to maintain the idea of being a trade deadline buyer and/or a playoff contender beyond this year.
Plenty of teams may have interest in Syndergaard, on whatever level he may be available, and these five teams should especially be at the front of the line.
5. Minnesota Twins
The Twins have the biggest division lead in baseball entering Tuesday, at 10.5 games over the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. The bullpen has surfaced as an important need, if only to add another reliable reliever to pitch high-leverage innings now and likely into October. But beyond Jose Berrios and a resurgent Jake Odorizzi, there are question marks in the starting rotation (Kyle Gibson, Martin Perez, Michael Pineda).
The Twins have a couple of top prospects who should be untouchable in trade talks, but outside of that anything and anyone else should be on the table in a push to be all-in for a deep playoff run this year. If Syndergaard is an option, Minnesota should be tempted to go out of their comfort zone to get him.