The Red Sox were among several teams believed to have been interested in free agent Noah Syndergaard before the right-hander reportedly agreed to a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels on Tuesday, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman adds on to this, writing that both the Red Sox and Blue Jays “made aggressive offers for Syndergaard” while the Yankees also had interest.
Per Heyman, Syndergaard was set to take his physical with the Angels on Tuesday, meaning his agreement with Los Angeles could become official relatively soon if he passes.
Prior to setting himself up to join the Halos’ starting rotation next season, the 29-year-old had been extended an $18.4 million qualifying offer for 2022 by his former club in the Mets.
Assuming Syndergaard passes his physical, the Angels would then be forced to forfeit $500,000 in international signing bonus money as well as their second-highest selection in next year’s draft, while the Mets would receive a compensatory draft pick after losing a qualified free agent in free agency.
The fact that the Red Sox were reportedly in the market for a starting pitcher such as Syndergaard is telling. Not only did he have a qualifying offer attached to him, but the Texas-born righty has pitched a total of two major-league innings since the conclusion of the 2019 campaign.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery last March, Syndergaard suffered a series of setbacks in his road to recovery this season, including right elbow inflammation in late May and a positive COVID-19 test in late August.
It took until late September for Syndergaard to make his highly-anticipated 2021 debut, and he did so as an opener for the Mets, allowing two runs over two innings in his only two big-league appearances of the year.
Still, even after being that limited in 2021, Syndergaard received a qualifying offer from the Mets, thus putting somewhat of a strain on another team if they were to sign him away from New York.
As highlighted by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Angels bit the bullet in this case. Rosenthal explained that Los Angeles is essentially paying a premium of $21 million for a pitcher who will likely be operating on an inning limit in 2022 given their lack of work the last two seasons.
That the Red Sox were interested in Syndergaard is certainly fascinating to say the least. Between the salary, draft-related penalties, and injury history/concerns, there are plenty of risks to factor in here despite the hard-throwing, 6-foot-6, 242 pound hurler having some major upside.
Though the depth of conversation between the Sox and Syndergaard — represented by CAA Sports — is presently unclear, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has hinted that Boston would inquire on qualified free agents this off-season.
“I think we’re in better position than we were a year ago,” Bloom said recently. “Even a year ago, I remember we talked about it and I said it’s certainly not something that’s off the table for us. Now at the time I said that knowing that most likely with [last year’s qualified free agents], it wouldn’t line up. I don’t know how this off-season is going to play out. But I think just where we’re positioned now with the depth that we have internally — although we’re nowhere close to where we want to be — we are in a better position than where we were.
“So I think it’s likelier there could be a fit there,” he added. “But we’re just going to do as we would with any move, just access all the implications. And if it is something that makes sense for us, we’ve got to be ready to bounce.”
With Syndergaard now off the table and heading to the West Coast, the only other qualified free agent starting pitchers the Red Sox could pursue are Robbie Ray and Justin Verlander.
An evaluator representing Boston was on hand when Verlander, who is expected to decline the Astros’ qualifying offer by Wednesday’s deadline, threw for teams in Florida last week.
(Picture of Noah Syndergaard: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)