NEW YORK — The Mets absorbed a major blow on Tuesday, announcing that right-hander Noah Syndergaard has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will require Tommy John surgery.
Syndergaard, 27, last pitched in a Grapefruit League game on March 8 against the Astros, about a week before the Mets suspended their spring camp. Typically, Tommy John surgery requires a 12- to 18-month recovery period, putting Syndergaard on track for a midseason return next summer. He is under team control through the end of next season, after which he can become a free agent.
Syndergaard is slated to earn $9.7M this season. He's arbitration-eligible for the fourth and final time next offseason, becoming a free agent after the 2021 season. https://t.co/yZdmxa3cu5
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) March 24, 2020
“Noah is an incredibly hard worker and a tremendous talent,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a statement. “While this is unfortunate, we have no doubt that Noah will be able to return to full strength and continue to be an integral part of our Championship pursuits in the future.”
The prize of the Mets' R.A. Dickey trade with the Blue Jays in December 2012, Syndergaard has gone 47-30 with a 3.31 ERA in 119 career outings (118 starts). He placed fourth in 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award voting and followed that with his best season, going 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA across 183 2/3 innings in ‘16, when he finished eighth in NL Cy Young voting. But Syndergaard posted a career-worst 4.28 ERA last season.
Syndergaard’s absence from the 2020 rotation gives the Mets a starting five of Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello, Steven Matz and Michael Wacha. One of the latter two pitchers had been in danger of opening the season in the bullpen, but that no longer appears to be the case.
Syndergaard averaged 97.6 mph on his fastball in 2019, the highest in the Majors among pitchers to throw at least 1,000 fastballs. But that average velocity was actually his second lowest of his career, behind only 2018, when he averaged 97.4 mph on those pitches.