For a sport that can, at times, be pretty unforgiving to players who don't perform, baseball has been very eager to see a return to form for Noah Syndergaard. MLB's God of Thunder hasn't been the same since his 2016 season with the Mets, when he pitched over 180 innings for a 2.60 ERA and earned his only All-Star appearance and Cy Young and MVP votes as a result. Injury after injury took him down from 2017 to 2019, and he hasn't been the same since.
Still, since leaving the Mets, Syndergaard has pitched for four other teams, who all apparently saw some upside and hoped to help him rehabilitate. Last year, when they signed him to a one-year deal, the Dodgers were among them. He got 12 starts before being placed on the IL with a recurring blister issue in June, and was promptly shipped off to the Guardians in return for Amed Rosario in July. Over that first half of the 2023 season, Syndergaard had a 7.16 ERA.
It's a good thing that the Dodgers got his $13 million off of their payroll, though it was highly suspect that they even agreed to give him that amount in the first place. Now, FanSided insider Robert Murray has reported that the Pirates have expressed interest in picking him up out of free agency and giving Syndergaard another chance.
Former failed rehabilitation project Noah Syndergaard drawing interest from the Pirates
The Dodgers basically shoved Syndergaard out the door last year, when they also had to send cash over to Cleveland in order for them to take him off of their hands. The Dodgers have an impressive history of being able to rehab pitchers, but despite the work they undoubtedly tried to do with Syndergaard, nothing took. If anything, he just got worse. Although his efforts with the Mets, Angels, and Phillies after his breakout season were disappointing in comparison, they were nowhere near as bad as what he presented with the Dodgers.
The Pirates, on the other hand, don't have much to lose by signing him. Outside of adding Martín Pérez, they've made no strides toward trying to fix or add to their pitching staff, which sported the ninth-worst ERA in the majors last season. Although they've accelerated Paul Skenes through the minors so much that, despite only be drafted in 2023, he's expected to land in MLB in 2024, there are more than a few arms in their rotation that just do very middle-of-the-road work.
So, even if signing Syndergaard would make the rotation worse, at least...it could add some spice? Maybe the Pirates could pull of the rehab of the century and actually make him better. Either way, the Dodgers are better off without him.