Mariners FA Target: Should M’s look at Noah Syndergaard AKA Thor?
Noah Syndergaard was one of the most intimidating pitchers in baseball. Long hair flowing, fastball pumping, and hitters buckling. Thor was a monstrosity on the mound, and you felt good whenever he took the bump.
Then, shoulder injuries started to zap his power. He started giving up more runs and striking out less. He sat out in 2020 and came back a completely different pitcher. He still had a good 2022 with an ERA of 3.94 and a FIP of 3.83 and was a big part of the Phillies run to the World Series this season.
Does Noah Syndergaard have enough left in the tank to be the Mariners number 5 pitcher?
Long gone are the days with 9-11 K per 9. In 2022, we saw a pitcher that could only go 5-6 IP and wasn’t going to strike out as many. He is still a good pitcher, but it’s odd to think of him more in line with the Chris Flexen’s of the world than it is with the Verlanders of the world. That’s what people thought he was going to be early in his career. Throwing high 90s, lots of Ks, and a low ERA.
The 4-seamer is down to 94 mph, his curve is one of the worst in the league at drop rate, and his change and 4-seamer both get crushed. However, those are his bottom three pitches by usage rate. He throws his sinker 32% of the time and the slider 22% of the time, and they are easily his best pitches.
If we saw Syndergaard embrace the sinker/slider combo, could we see a return to dominance? Guys don’t have to throw 99 to strike out a ton and lead a rotation. Plenty of Mariners in 2022 saw success with the hard 2-seamer/sinker and a slider. Would it be reasonable to think that Thor could be the next one to come to town and see similar success?
It’s entirely possible that he could. Throwing someone like that into the five spot in the rotation is a move that carries little risk and a greater reward. However, there are likely to be some teams out there that think of young Noah Syndergaard and his time in the 2022 playoffs and will look to overpay. Reports have him from 1-3 years, likely in the low teens per year. That fact, especially if he’s getting multi-year offers, makes my answer pretty easy.
The Mariners should not bring in Noah Syndergaard for their 2023 rotation
The Mariners should stick to spending their money on hitting or a much higher ceiling starter. I want him to be good. I really do. I just don’t know if it’s going to happen, and the commitment would be too much for where the Mariners are at heading into 2023. Best of luck Thor, but I don’t see it happening in Seattle.