Noah Syndergaard To Red Sox? Evaluating Whether ‘Thor’ Fits With Boston

Syndergaard is a much different pitcher now than he was with the Mets


July 26, 2022

Will the Red Sox make a splash at the Major League Baseball trade deadline? Boston is in the thick of the American League wild card race and could use a few pieces. As such, we’ll examine whether several notable trade targets make sense (or don’t make sense) as the club looks to retool for the second half of the season.

Noah Syndergaard, once part of a trade for R.A. Dickey, burst onto the scene with the New York Mets in 2015, finishing fourth in National League Rookie of the Year voting.

From there, the hard-throwing right-hander established himself as a budding ace, earning an All-Star selection en route to an eighth-place finish in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2016.

But Syndergaard since has battled injuries, including Tommy John surgery that wiped out his 2020 season and limited him to just two starts in 2021. And the man nicknamed “Thor” is a much different pitcher now than what his physically imposing frame suggests.

Nevertheless, Syndergaard is a prime trade candidate with the Aug. 2 deadline approaching, as he’s an impending free agent on a bad Los Angeles Angels team. So, let’s evaluate whether he’d fit in Boston.

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Position: Starting pitcher
Age: 29 (Aug. 29, 1992)
Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 242 pounds
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

2022 stats*:
15 games (all starts), 80 innings
5-8 record, 3.83 ERA, 64 strikeouts
1.213 WHIP, 3.96 FIP, 105 ERA+
7.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 2.91 K/BB

Career stats*:
136 games (135 starts), 798 innings
52-39 record, 3.37 ERA, 841 strikeouts
1.167 WHIP, 3.04 FIP, 117 ERA+
9.5 K/9, 2.1 BB/9, 4.47 K/BB

*through July 25

Why Syndergaard makes sense for Red Sox:
The Red Sox’s rotation has been hit hard by injuries this season — forcing Boston to rely on young starters like Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, Josh Winckowski and Connor Seabold — and the unit recently was dealt another blow when Chris Sale underwent surgery for a broken pinkie. Nathan Eovaldi just returned, Rich Hill and Michael Wacha are on the mend, and James Paxton is a stretch-run wild card, but the Red Sox still could use additional starting pitching depth.

Syndergaard, meanwhile, has been solid, albeit unspectacular, with the Angels after signing a one-year, $21 million contract over the offseason. He doesn’t throw as hard as he used to — averaging around 94 mph with his fastball rather than high 90s — and instead leans more heavily on offspeed stuff nowadays, but he’s been mostly effective for the Halos. And most importantly, he’s remained healthy in 2022.

The Angels almost certainly will trade Syndergaard, as they aren’t going anywhere this season and he’s set to become a free agent this winter. They’ll probably need to eat money to facilitate a deal, and even then, the prospect return shouldn’t be exorbitant. So, Syndergaard represents a decent low-cost option for contending clubs that need back-end rotation help. The key is to adjust expectations, understanding exactly what Syndergaard brings to the table at this point in his MLB career.

Why Syndergaard doesn’t make sense for Red Sox:
Injury and inning concerns still hang over Syndergaard, despite his relatively clean bill of health in 2022. Those likely will be baked into the cost of acquisition, but some teams might not have the stomach for such unpredictability — especially those unable/unwilling to deploy him as part of a six-man rotation, like the Angels have this season.

There was a rumor back in November that Boston considered Syndergaard before he signed with Los Angeles. Whether or not that’s true remains unclear, but he makes less sense now than he did back then given the Red Sox have more glaring needs (bullpen, first base, outfield) and still are trying to solidify themselves as legitimate contenders.

Syndergaard, as mentioned, has been OK with the Angels. He’s a pure rental, though, and ultimately wouldn’t move the needle much for Boston’s 2022 playoff hopes, despite the natural buzz that’s still attached to his name by virtue of his stature and peak performance in Queens.

Verdict: Not a fit.

Prediction: The Philadelphia Phillies acquire Syndergaard.

Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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