DENVER -- The Rockies have been mentioned as a team that could land Mets standout right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard. And while it isn't clear that the Mets -- hoping to restructure their roster but also hoping to contend -- would part with Syndergaard, the idea of Colorado exploring a deal
DENVER -- The Rockies have been mentioned as a team that could land Mets standout right-handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard. And while it isn't clear that the Mets -- hoping to restructure their roster but also hoping to contend -- would part with Syndergaard, the idea of Colorado exploring a deal is not far-fetched.
The Rockies were mentioned in reports in The Athletic and SNY as having some interest. Before Colorado dealt shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays in 2015, the Rockies tried to deal him to the Mets and Syndergaard was a prominent figure in the rumors. That was before Syndergaard blossomed with a 14-9 record and 2.60 ERA in 31 appearances in an All-Star '16.
Syndergaard missed almost all of 2017 with a right lat injury, but bounced back in '18, with a 10-3 record and a 3.33 ERA in 25 starts. And with the Mets, under new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, trying to make a quick turnaround (while also beefing up their farm system), Syndergaard seems back in the rumor mill.
How can the Rockies pull off such a deal?
The five-year, $70 million contract that Ian Desmond signed with Colorado before the 2017 season was negotiated by CAA Baseball, where Van Wagenen was part of the leadership team. The intangibles that have led the Rockies to defend Desmond as a winner, even though he dealt with injuries in '17 and produced sub-par overall numbers in '18, are well-known to Van Wagenen.
New York would love a versatile right-handed bat. The Mets have been connected to a possible trade for the Mariners' Robinson Cano, who has been more productive than Desmond. However, Desmond alone -- especially since he is owed $38 million over the next two seasons -- would not get a deal done. With Syndergaard expected to make around $6 million in 2019 with two more years of club control behind this one, he is a valuable asset who would come at a high price.
The Mets are likely to demand at least one more young impact player whose contract is under club control, and maybe even a prospect or two to sweeten the deal. Colorado's drive to playoff spots the past two seasons has been built precisely on young, controllable players. The Brewers have been mentioned as having more of a chance to come up with an offer that entices the Mets.
Another intriguing piece the Rockies could send is righty relief pitcher Bryan Shaw, who struggled to a 4-6 record and 5.93 ERA in 2018 to open a three-year, $27 million contract. Mets manager Mickey Callaway worked with Shaw as the Indians' pitching coach during a more successful season. But with $19.5 million (including a $2 million buyout on a $9 million, '21 option) coming Shaw's way after a rough year, the more likely scenario is that he returns to Colorado and tries to bounce back in '19. (Shaw, by the way, can earn the '21 option if he is healthy when that year starts and/or meets incentives tied to the '19 and '20 seasons.)
While the Mets could pivot to a proven free agent to replace Syndergaard in the rotation, it might take more than the Rockies can afford give to pry him away. And the Mets' asking price may make sending Syndergaard anywhere impossible, anyhow, or at least indicate that they don't really want to make a trade.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.