Skip to main content
Publish date:

Why Mets Cannot Rely On Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard In 2022

Find out why the Mets cannot rely on Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard at the top of their rotation in 2022 and what they can do to cover themselves.

On paper, the Mets will potentially have two of the most talented starting pitchers in the game at the top of their rotation next season.

But in reality, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard cannot be relied on as an ace and co-ace due to the uncertainty of their health status.

Last season, deGrom posted historic numbers through his first 15 starts with a 1.08 ERA, a 0.55 WHIP and 146 strikeouts across 92 innings. However, his stellar campaign ended prematurely after an elbow injury, which put him on the shelf for the rest of the year following his final outing on July 7.

Not to mention, the loss of deGrom, who is irreplaceable, was arguably the straw that broke the camel's back, as the Mets collapsed in the final two months of the season. New York not only lost their 103 day first place lead in the NL East, but they finished with a losing record due to a 23-39 finish beyond July 28. 

In games where deGrom pitched, the Mets went 11-4. And although the offense never came around, if deGrom were to repeat this mark in the second-half of the year, the Mets might have made the postseason.

Soon-to-be former bench coach Dave Jauss, who was on the Boston Red Sox Staff during the height of Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez's career, also felt the loss of deGrom truly sealed the Mets' fate last season.

Despite team president Sandy Alderson insisting deGrom's ligament is fully intact [UCL sprain/partial tear in right elbow], the Mets have no way of knowing what deGrom will be able to give them next year and if he will be able to stay healthy across a full-season.

“I don’t know if there has ever been a pitcher in the history of the game that has maintained that kind of velocity game-in and game-out the last three years like he has," one scout told The New York Post. "This is more of a question than a statement, but is the human body and the arm built for that sort of stress? I think his body was starting to scream at him a little bit this past year, so you have to think about that. If he’s healthy and there’s no issues, there are no words to describe what type of pitcher he is, but he’s human.”

As for Syndergaard, the Mets very well may extend the pending free agent a one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer to stick around for another season. And the right-hander has made it clear he wants to stay.

Read More

But this doesn't change the fact that Syndergaard missed two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March of 2020. And although Syndergaard was able to return to make two relief appearances as an opener in late-September of last season, the Mets can't expect him to revert back to his previous form as a top-end starting pitcher.

On an additional note, Syndergaard scrapped his slider and curveball this year given the stress it put on his elbow, leading to his setback scare on May 27. While Syndergaard said these pitches will be back in his arsenal in 2022, the burning question that remains is whether his re-constructed elbow can handle the torque of these two weapons. 

“[Syndergaard] is a big, strong guy, a big-time competitor, but how many innings can he give you next year? A hundred innings maybe, or 120, and that is if everything goes good and there’s no more breakdowns," said another scout to The Post.

For that, the Mets should keep their eyes open in free agency and on the trade market by targeting another high-end starter in case deGrom and/or Syndergaard goes down. 

They could re-sign the reliable Marcus Stroman, but he isn't an ace, which leaves pending free agent Cy Young Award candidates Robbie Ray and Kevin Gausman as potential insurance options to come in to serve as a No. 1 if the Mets choose to go this route.

In the case of starting pitching, you can never have too many hurlers in this unit. The Mets learned this first-hand in 2021 and despite their efforts to build depth in this area, they ultimately ran out of arms in the second-half after they were decimated by the injury bug.

But even building depth cannot cover them from losing the best pitcher on the planet in deGrom. That's why they must go after another ace should the opportunity present itself.

If deGrom and Syndergaard stay healthy and perform like their old selves, it will be an added bonus for the Mets. But it's also a lot to ask given the injuries they've endured over the past year.