Pitcher Noah Syndergaard and the Los Angeles Angels have agreed on a one-year, $21 million contract, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.
BREAKING: Right-hander Noah Syndergaard and the Los Angeles Angels are in agreement on a one-year, $21 million deal, pending physical, sources tell ESPN.
The Angels bolster their staff with the highest-upside arm on the market — and pay a heavy price, plus a second-rounder.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 16, 2021
Syndergaard, 29, has spent the last seven seasons with the New York Mets after being traded from the Toronto Blue Jays before his first game in the majors. Debuting in 2015, he finished fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting after putting up a 3.24 ERA with 166 strikeouts over 24 starts and 150 innings. His sophomore year was even more impressive: over 30 starts and 183.2 innings, he had a 2.60 ERA with 218 strikeouts.
Syndergaard struggled with injuries
Syndergaard was meant to be part of the Mets' dynamite rotation of the future, which in 2015 included Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey, but he simply couldn't get healthy. In 2017 he missed over four months with a torn lat muscle in his pitching arm. In 2018 he missed a month with a finger injury, then later missed several weeks after contracting hand, foot, and mouth disease.
He stayed healthy for all of 2019, pitching nearly 200 innings, but finished with a disappointing 4.28 ERA. Then Syndergaard missed the entire 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and pitched just two innings near the end of 2021 after missing the entire year with right elbow inflammation. The Mets extended him a qualifying offer, which he hasn't officially declined, but a deal with the Angels is a pretty good sign that he's not saying yes.
Now that he's free from the Mets, Syndergaard is ready for a fresh start, and he'll get that with the Angels. A one-year deal gives him the opportunity to reestablish himself after missing essentially two full seasons and show teams he can still be effective, even if he's not the same pitcher he was in 2015 and 2016.
Angels taking risk to upgrade rotation
As for the Angels, they desperately need to upgrade their rotation around Shohei Ohtani. 17 different pitchers started at least one game for the Angles in 2021, and 11 pitchers started at least five games. Despite struggling with injuries on and off through the season, Ohtani was the only Angels starter to pitch more than 100 innings.
Signing Syndergaard comes with some risk, since he's spent the last four years being either injured or thoroughly mediocre. But unless they find a way to clone Ohtani four times, it's exactly the kind of risk the Angels should be taking if they hope to improve.