Should Mets make qualifying offers to Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard?

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Michael Conforto Noah Syndergaard METS TREATED ART September 2021
Michael Conforto Noah Syndergaard METS TREATED ART September 2021

With the Mets in the midst of an offseason that could feature lots of roster turnover, two of the biggest decisions they have to make will be whether to extend qualifying offers to Michael Conforto and/or Noah Syndergaard.

Whether to make those offers and whether one or both players returns to the Mets for 2022 could help shape New York's offseason approach.

If Conforto isn't back, the Mets will very likely need to find a corner outfielder on the market to replace him.

If Syndergaard isn't back, the Mets will need to find a starter on the market who has top-of-the-rotation upside.

So while it's fair to say that the Mets need to shake things up a bit this offseason after what turned out to be an incredibly disappointing 2021, it's also easy to argue that both Conforto and Syndergaard should be retained.

But what will the Mets do? And is there a possibility one or both of them comes back without it being on the one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer?

The situation with Conforto

Before the season started, the idea that Conforto might accept a qualifying offer seemed crazy.

He was coming off a 2020 season where he hit .322/.412/.515 in the shortened 60-game season, which came on the heels of him hitting .257/.363/.494 in 2019.

Entering the 2021 season, Conforto was a career .259/.358/.484 hitter who appeared primed to receive a massive contract when he hit free agency.

Now? It's possible he might wind up accepting a one-year deal in order to rebuild value and hit the market again after 2022, especially when you consider the amount of top hitters who are about to be available on the free agent market.

Sep 30, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) hits an RBI single during the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.
Sep 30, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets right fielder Michael Conforto (30) hits an RBI single during the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.

When discussing Conforto, who is about to enter his age-29 season, it's important to note that the Mets preferred the possibility of retaining Conforto over signing George Springer.

So extending the QO to Conforto should be a no-brainer.

If he accepts, the Mets get a really good player on a one-year deal who should be primed for a bounce-back season. If he rejects, the Mets would get draft pick compensation,

And if Conforto sees that his market is not robust, will the QO become an appealing option?

The situation with Syndergaard

Things are much more cloudy with Syndergaard than they are with Conforto.

Initially expected to be back around June after recovering from Tommy John surgery, Syndergaard was delayed until late September after a setback with his elbow led to a lengthy shutdown.

And after Syndergaard returned, he was in a limited role, tossing one inning in his season debut and one more in his second and final appearance..

In addition to Syndergaard making only two appearances this season was the fact that he wasn't throwing his slider or curve after consulting with doctors. He is expected to utilize his full arsenal in 2022.

But that the Mets weren't able to see Syndergaard use all of his pitches before making a decision on him was less than ideal.

Sep 28, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) takes the mound for the first time in over two years during the first inning of game two of a doubleheader against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.
Sep 28, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) takes the mound for the first time in over two years during the first inning of game two of a doubleheader against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.

Still, with the health of Jacob deGrom a huge concern and with plenty of rotation questions (Marcus Stroman is also a free agent), the Mets should try to bring Syndergaard back.

And Syndergaard himself is confident he'll be back.

There's a case to be made, though, that the Mets should try to work out an incentive-laden one-year deal or perhaps a two-year deal instead of extending the QO.

Basically, if the Mets don't think Syndergaard is going to get an offer from any external team that approaches $18 million or more for 2022, why should they extend the QO?

But if the Mets' intel is that Syndergaard's market is robust, extending the QO would make sense.

Either way, Syndergaard's potential remains too great -- and the Mets' rotation remains in too much flux -- for New York to let him go.