Whenever the 2020 MLB season begins, the Philadelphia Phillies will be one of four teams making serious pushes to win the National League East. The New York Mets, another one of those teams, took a major hit Wednesday, one that could affect both who wins the division and either of the two National League Wild Card spots.
According to ESPN‘s Jeff Passan, RHP Noah Syndergaard has torn his UCL and will need Tommy John surgery. Not only will this surgery keep the 27-year-old from pitching in 2020, but Passan suggests he may not be ready at the beginning of the 2021 season either.
There was some thought that the Mets could be a playoff team in 2020. A year ago, even in a season where a lot seemed to go wrong, they won 86 games. If some combination of Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia and offseason signee Dellin Betances could have bounce-back seasons, the Mets were seemingly primed to win 90 plus games in 2020.
But something always seems to go wrong for the Mets.
In January, the Mets had to dismiss Carlos Beltran as manager before he ever managed a game because of his connections to the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. Now, the Mets have lost Syndergaard, who posted a 3.60 FIP and 4.4 fWAR over 197.2 innings a season ago.
With Syndergaard’s injury, the offseason loss of Zack Wheeler – who signed a five-year/$118 million deal to join the Phillies – looms much larger. The Mets rotation is still headlined by two-time defending National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, and will feature Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, but there’s no doubt that their biggest strength won’t be as strong as it was at the conclusion of the 2019 season. And if Syndgergaard would have helped the Mets win three of four extra games, that may be the difference between making and missing the playoffs.
The Phillies playoff hopes will depend on their pitching – both starting and relieving – being much better than they were a season ago. We’re waiting to here an update on Seranthony Dominguez, who suffered a setback in his attempt to return from a UCL injury of his own. David Robertson was expected to miss a bulk or all of the 2020 season after having Tommy John surgery last August, but a delayed season could increase the chances he pitches in 2020. Joe Girardi’s starting rotation will be largely dependent on Wheeler and Aaron Nola having big years, and the hope that No. 1 overall prospect Spencer Howard can make a legitimate impact in his rookie season.
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