Although he characterized his weekend conversation with general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, manager Mickey Callaway and others as “cordial” and “adult,” Syndergaard expressed dismay that the contents of that discussion went public two days later.
“It is unfortunate that a private conversation that I had with the front office and the coaching staff became public, but it is what it is right now,” Syndergaard said.
Pressed specifically on his relationships with Van Wagenen and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, who is privy to all baseball operations issues, Syndergaard said: “As of right now, I respect each and every one of those guys. I’m really appreciative of the open dialogue and conversation that we’re able to have. Hopefully, we’re able to grow out of it.”
Multiple times this season, Syndergaard has expressed disappointment with Mets decision-makers, particularly when his name became the subject of trade rumors in July. The most recent episode occurred this weekend, after Syndergaard sought out Callaway and Van Wagenen in an attempt to have either Tomas Nido or Rene Rivera become his personal catcher. Syndergaard pointed out that he owns a 5.09 ERA pitching to Ramos this season, versus a 2.22 mark with the other two. Mets officials countered that Ramos, who leads the Majors with a .415 average since the start of August, needs to be in the lineup as much as possible. Two days later, the episode went public.
Syndergaard said that while he has not spoken with Ramos about the issue, he does not anticipate any lingering issues. Ramos declined comment.
“I’ll admit I can be stubborn at times, but it’s just that I want the best of the best for the team,” Syndergaard said. “I want to go out there and compete to the elite level that I think I can compete at. But yeah, I would say that I’m welcome and wanted here.”
Among the factors Syndergaard considered is that the Mets allowed Jacob deGrom to use a personal catcher, Devin Mesoraco, down the stretch last season, but the team denied his request for similar treatment this year. Syndergaard said the Mets did not explain their decision-making process to him, though he admitted the deGrom-Mesoraco pairing “was like watching Bob Ross paint a painting -- everything was calculated and it was artful.”
Callaway did explain the reasoning publicly, if not directly to Syndergaard.
“It’s different because Jake had a one-something ERA and was fighting for a Cy Young, and where we’re at as a team is much, much different,” Callaway said. “Last year, we were out of it pretty early. That was pretty evident. And Jacob deGrom was having a Cy Young season. You had to recognize that in the time. We were still trying to win games but our season was different. We have a chance to get into the playoffs. … That’s all of our focus right now.”
Syndergaard shares that goal, even if his future in the franchise is unclear. Although Syndergaard is under team control for two more seasons after this one, the Mets have shopped him aggressively twice in the past nine months. Barring a contract extension (unlikely) or another sort of public commitment this winter, his name is almost certain to pop up in trade rumors again this winter. Syndergaard said in July that “it’s getting kind of old.”
He does not, however, have much choice in his place of employment until he becomes a free agent after the 2021 season. No matter what happens, it is in Syndergaard’s best interest to pitch as well as possible -- to Ramos, Nido, Rivera or anyone else -- until that time.
“It’s all on me,” Syndergaard said. “I’m just trying to look for an answer.”