According to reports, right-hander Noah Syndergaard and the Los Angeles Angels have agreed to a one-year, $21 million contract, pending a physical.
Syndergaard, 29, pitched with the New York Mets for the first seven seasons of his career, earning one All-Star team and showcasing probably the most venomous arsenal of pitches seen by a starter in the major leagues. Syndergaard, who has only tossed two innings since Tommy John surgery in 2019, will join an Angels staff that was among the weakest in the majors last season.
With two-way star Shohei Ohtani coming off a season that will conclude with the American League MVP award and outfielder Mike Trout returning from an injury-plagued 2021, the Angels’ pursuit of starting pitching was their top priority this winter.
Because Syndergaard had been offered a one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer by the Mets, the Angels will forfeit their second-round draft selection in 2022 in addition to the $21 million. After the draft’s competitive balance, they will be given a choice in Round B. (around 70th overall).
While several in the business expected Syndergaard to accept the qualifying offer, the market turned out to be in better shape. According to insiders, the Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, and New York Yankees were among the teams with the most interest in Syndergaard.
Syndergaard’s late-September comeback, which included a couple of one-inning outings in which he didn’t throw his slider or curveball, was enough for all of them. Despite the fact that Syndergaard’s average fastball velocity throughout the outings was down more than 3 mph from his 2017 high, the Angels were willing to pay a premium for his services.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Syndergaard’s contract is the franchise’s highest for a pitcher in terms of average yearly value. Prior to the 2012 season, C.J. Wilson agreed to a five-year, $77.5 million agreement ($15.5 million AAV).
It’s no secret that the Angels are in desperate need of pitchers. With 130.1 innings pitched, Ohtani led the squad; no other Angels pitcher topped 100. Syndergaard has never thrown 200 innings in a season, however he has made 30 or more starts twice (2016 and 2019).
A rotation featuring Ohtani, Syndergaard, and left-hander Patrick Sandoval, on the other hand, has the makings of a good one, especially if general manager Perry Minasian can add a top-of-the-rotation arm like free-agent right-hander Max Scherzer.
Early in his career, Syndergaard, a 6-foot-6 leviathan dubbed Thor, looked like a superhero, regularly ripping off 100-mph fastballs and matching them with 93-mph sliders. Syndergaard was one of the Mets’ greatest pitchers during the team’s journey to the National League pennant in 2015, and he was even better the following year, having a 2.60 ERA, striking out 218 batters in 183.2 innings, and looking every bit the star.
When Syndergaard was healthy, he was usually fantastic, combining his strikeout ability with a proclivity for generating groundballs. He has a 3.32 ERA in 718 innings pitched, striking out 777 batters while walking only 166 and allowing only 64 home runs. His comeback from elbow reconstruction in March 2020 was hampered by setbacks, culminating in September showcasing in which he gave up two runs in two innings.