If you were one of the Dodgers fans wondering why Los Angeles decided to invest $13 million in Noah Syndergaard, perhaps the right-hander's comments after speaking with the media on Monday will change your stance ... if his introductory tweet after signing with the team didn't.
Sydergaard, who's known for his outgoing and witty personality, brings a certain edge to the Dodgers, perhaps one fans may have forgotten about because he hasn't been atop his game since 2018. Subpar play plagued him in 2019, and then Tommy John surgery knocked him out for all but two starts between 2020 and 2021.
He rejected the New York Mets' qualifying offer after the 2021 season and spurned them for the Angels where ... he got an extra few million, but was in a much, much worse situation. Despite solid output in Anaheim (3.83 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 1.21 WHIP in 15 starts), Syndergaard was sent back to the east coast in a trade with the Phillies.
It really wasn't a bad first year post-TJ for Thor. He logged 10 more games with Philly and registered a 4.12 ERA, 3.66 FIP and 1.32 WHIP, in addition to 8.1 solid postseason innings.
But Syndergaard knows things will be different in LA. He knows what he signed up for. He's ready for the bounce back of all bounce backs, if we're to believe his comments on joining the Dodgers.
Noah Syndergaard's comments on joining the Dodgers show he'll be perfect fit
The Dodgers might be bargain hunting this offseason, but at least their "big" signing is encouraging the fanbase about what's to come. Syndergaard has surely seen what the team has been able to do with young/struggling/injury-plagued starting pitchers, especially in recent years.
Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Brusdar Graterol, Evan Phillips, Blake Treinen, Alex Vesia and more have been beneficiaries of LA's process since at least 2019.
But none of them had the potential or All-Star-caliber track record Syndergaard has. Unfortunately, he's seen his peripheral numbers suffer, as he was one of the worst in MLB this past season in expected batting average, strikeout percentage, expected slugging percentage, whiff percentage, fastball spin and curveball spin. His 2016 All-Star season? An entirely red Baseball Savant page, with the exception of the latter two categories we just mentioned.
The Dodgers are known to unlock what's yet to be discovered, or rediscover what's gone dormant, making Syndergaard a fitting free agent match.
Getting that confidence back so he's ready to brush the Dodgers' rivals off the plate would provide an injection of personality this roster hasn't seen since 2020.
One step at a time, though. Let's get that fastball back before delivering the sweet chin music.