When the New York Mets offered Noah Syndergaard the one year, $18.4 million qualifying offer at the beginning of November, the league-wide expectation was that he would accept and stay in New York for his seventh MLB season. But between November 7 and 16, something drastic changed, and Perry Minasian’s Los Angeles Angels wound up landing him.
The Angels and Syndergaard make plenty of sense on paper. For what feels like a decade now, the Angels have been in desperate search of ace-level pitching. At full strength, Syndergaard undoubtedly fits that description.
Coming off of Tommy John surgery and only 2.0 innings pitched since 2019, the flame-throwing right-hander needed a team willing to let him prove he is still that ace. The Mets could have been that team, but they reportedly ghosted him entirely after issuing the qualifying offer.
That’s when Minasian went to work, reportedly engaging in an all-out blitz effort to steal Syndergaard away from New York and bring him to Anaheim, according to Joel Sherman of The New York Post:
Their general manager, Perry Minasian, insisted on a sit-down meeting and flew cross-country to have dinner last Friday night with Syndergaard. During that meal, Minasian put on a full-court press, explaining how the Angels envisioned deploying him, keeping him healthy and improving him. Of course, the money mattered. Ultimately, the sides agreed at $21 million.
After Minasian and Syndergaard’s team agreed to that $21 million figure, the new Angels pitcher didn’t even give the Mets an opportunity to match, detailing just how much their relationship had fractured in a matter of days.
Syndergaard’s team also prioritized getting a deal done prior to Wednesday’s qualifying offer deadline. Had the deal with the Angels fallen through for any reason, it’s likely he accepts and remains a Met. But Minasian was not going to let that happen.
The Angels have been known to take one year gambles on pitchers with high upside but high risk. However, they’ve never invested this much into a one-year rental, clearly showing how much they believe in Syndergaard’s ability to bounce back in 2022.
As for proving his free agent value for 2023, the Angels represent a perfect option for Thor. Their six-man rotation allowed Shohei Ohtani to play a full healthy season after his Tommy John surgery, and they plan to deploy the same strategy in 2022. Minasian made sure that Syndergaard would choose him, and the full-court press paid off.
Angels still looking for more pitching
By no means does the Syndergaard signing mean the Angels are done. It was reported that they are interested in a number of players, including Robbie Ray, Marcus Stroman, and Max Scherzer. It remains to be seen how likely these options are, but before the offseason is over, the Angels will undoubtedly acquire more starting pitching.