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Thor raises concerns about Ramos pairing

@AnthonyDiComo
September 9, 2019

NEW YORK -- A season-long issue resurfaced this weekend, when Noah Syndergaard confronted Mets officials about pairing him with starting catcher Wilson Ramos. To Syndergaard’s dismay, the Mets paired him with Ramos anyway on Sunday, when he allowed four runs in five innings of a 10-7 Mets loss. “You can’t

NEW YORK -- A season-long issue resurfaced this weekend, when Noah Syndergaard confronted Mets officials about pairing him with starting catcher Wilson Ramos. To Syndergaard’s dismay, the Mets paired him with Ramos anyway on Sunday, when he allowed four runs in five innings of a 10-7 Mets loss.

“You can’t make everybody happy and it’s not about making guys happy,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “It’s about winning at this point.”

Winning is something Syndergaard has done more efficiently with backup catchers Tomas Nido and Rene Rivera than with Ramos. Throwing to the former two backstops, Syndergaard owns a 2.22 ERA in 11 starts. Pitching to the latter, he has produced a 5.09 ERA in 15 starts.

Team spokesman Harold Kaufman said that Syndergaard was in meetings throughout Monday afternoon and evening, but that he would address the situation later that evening. By the time the Mets opened the postgame clubhouse to reporters, though, Syndergaard was gone. Ramos also left quickly, without speaking publicly.

“We’re a family down there,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “In a family dynamic, relationships have to be managed and we have to bring out the best of each person on a daily basis. That’s what we’ll continue to do.”

While catcher ERAs can often be the byproduct of small sample sizes, Van Wagenen said that statistic is something the team considers when making out lineup cards. Syndergaard is aware of the discrepancy as well, and has asked the Mets to pair him with Nido on multiple occasions. The first instance that went public was back in July, when the Mets accommodated both Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom for a time by pairing them with Nido as much as possible. (deGrom pitched almost exclusively to backup Devin Mesoraco after the All-Star break last season. A source said that Van Wagenen, who was then deGrom’s agent, encouraged the exclusive pairing.)

But as Ramos found his stroke at the plate, emerging from an early-season slump to bat .342 from the start of the second half through the end of August, the Mets began leaning on him more and more. As a result, both Syndergaard and deGrom increasingly began pitching to Ramos.

“I’ve told [Syndergaard] that there are going to be lineups where different catchers are going to catch, and he knows that he’s got to go out there and compete when the lineup is posted,” Callaway said.

Added Van Wagenen: “From our standpoint, we don’t have personal catchers.”

Callaway indicated that the Mets do take Syndergaard’s extreme splits into account when choosing a catcher, but they also try to keep Ramos’ bat in the lineup as often as possible, given that he’s hitting .301/.363/438 this season. Callaway added that the catching situation is a dead issue, saying he doesn’t “worry about what guys’ preferences are.” Van Wagenen, by contrast, indicated that the issue is not, in fact, dead, and that Syndergaard will have to adjust to life with Ramos at catcher.

“We’ve won a lot of games with Wilson Ramos behind the plate,” Van Wagenen said. “Wilson is a good player. Noah is a very good player. Everybody out there is doing their best to try to win a game, so my comfort level with all those guys is every time somebody takes the field, they’re going to give their all to try to win us a game.”

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.