He’s the man known as “Thor” and he will be joining the Texas Rangers‘ division rivals in Anaheim.
The 29-year-old righty reportedly inked a one-year, $21 million contract with the LA Angels on Tuesday, setting an active starting pitching market into motion.
It’s a curious move for the pitching-desperate Angels, who are gambling on Syndergaard’s massive upside to shine through after Tommy John surgery derailed his 2020 and 2021 seasons.
In fact, Thor has only pitched two (two!) innings combined since the 2019 season, and both came in a relief appearance for the New York Mets at the end of the 2021 season.
There’s no doubt Syndergaard has among the highest upsides of free agent pitchers available, with his power fastball and crisp breaking stuff. But the Texas Rangers made the right choice passing on him.
The Texas Rangers made the right choice to pass on Noah Syndergaard in free agency
With so many good options out on the market, there was no need to surrender a draft choice as the Angels will do in order to secure his services. We know the Rangers are expected to be active in free agency this off-season, so the team may as well use that draft pick on a player they actually need (like a Corey Seager or Trevor Story, for example).
Of course, that’s not to say that Texas doesn’t need pitching: they do. But there are a bounty of quality free agents available, most notably DFW area native Clayton Kershaw, who are also capable of filling the Rangers’ need for starting pitching.
Similarly, names like Max Scherzer, Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman and Jon Gray are among those who do not come attached with a qualifying offer and loss of a draft pick, an ideal situation for the still-rebuilding Texas Rangers.
Syndergaard does hail from Mansfield, Texas in the DFW area, but the timelines just didn’t match up. A one-year “prove it” deal on a 2022 Rangers team that is still at least a year away from serious contention in the American League wouldn’t have made much sense for Thor, who presumably is looking to win now. And as much as their track record hasn’t suggested it, the Angels are closer to playoff contention than the Rangers.
Overall, the Texas Rangers signing Noah Syndergaard would’ve felt a little premature, while also having to surrender an extra compensatory pick that could’ve been used to secure a player who would be even more impactful for the team in 2022.
Syndergaard’s deal is only for one year though, so barring an extension, perhaps Thor finds his way to Texas when the windows do match up ahead of the 2023 season…