Noah Syndergaard signed a one-year, $13MM free agent deal with the Dodgers this winter, and the right-hander tells the New York Post’s Jon Heyman that “there might have been more money on the table with another team.” But, Los Angeles held particular appeal for Syndergaard, as “I wanted to give myself the best chance to get back to the World Series and win it all. And I wanted the best coaching and direction that the sport has to offer and I’m fully convinced that that is with the Dodgers.” There is certainly a solid track record of pitchers being revived after joining the Dodgers, and Syndergaard might have a lot in particular to offer, given his past ace status and the fact that he is now fully healthy.
Tommy John surgery and some related setbacks cost Syndergaard all but two innings of the 2020-21 seasons. While he had a 3.94 ERA over 134 2/3 combined innings with the Angels and Phillies last year, Syndergaard still felt the “Tommy John hangover,” saying that “I didn’t throw a pitch where it didn’t feel like I was pitching in a straightjacket….It’s hard to get hitters out when you’re thinking about what your body is doing in mid-delivery.” It remains to seen if Syndergaard can ever fully return to his All-Star form, but even solid numbers and a clean bill of health would put him in nice position for a richer, multi-year contract in free agency next winter.
More from the NL and AL West…
- Formerly one of baseball’s top prospects, Evan White played only 30 MLB games in 2021 and none in 2022 due to hip surgery, a sports hernia surgery, and related other setbacks and injuries. White is feeling much better now, however, as the Mariners first baseman told Larry Stone of the Seattle Times that he received offseason treatment for “a muscle in my pelvic floor that was the biggest issue….You can give me all the stabilization exercises you want, but if I can’t do it from the very inner parts of me, it’s tough to do. I’ve had injuries on that side since I was probably 14 years old. I had to make sure everything was firing, firing the right patterns.” Manager Scott Servais said the current plan is to keep White in his regular first base spot this spring until both White and the Mariners are fully sure of his health, and then perhaps White might get some looks as a corner outfielder, as a way of finding a lineup spot since Ty France now has first base locked down.
- David Villar’s emergence as the Giants’ planned regular third baseman has left J.D. Davis in something of a crunch for playing time, as The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser notes that Davis might only see most of his action when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound, with Davis and Wilmer Flores stepping in for Joc Pederson and LaMonte Wade Jr. at DH and first base, respectively. Of course, injuries, under-performance, or the Giants’ penchant for platoon advantages could boost Davis’ time on the field, but on paper, Davis again looks to be a part-time player after filling a similar role over a good chunk of his time with the Mets. Even after an underwhelming start last season, Davis finished 2022 hitting .240/.340/.418 over 365 plate appearances (119 wRC+) with New York and San Francisco, boosted largely by a hot streak after the Giants acquired him at the trade deadline.