SNY's Andy Martino has reported that the Mets have been listening to trade inquiries on Noah Syndergaard dating back to last off-season, He noted that it's far more likely the Mets explore trading Syndergaard this winter, but that he isn't a total lock to be a Met beyond the July 31 trade deadline.
Regarding this year's trade deadline, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that multiple teams -- including the Brewers, Padres and Astros -- have shown recent interest in Syndergaard.
I agree with Andy that if Syndergaard is indeed going to be traded it will be in the offseason. Part of my reasoning is that the Mets are likely to move Zack Wheeler before the deadline and may also move Jason Vargas if there is a willing taker. That would open two rotation slots with limited available options just to get through 2019.
My understanding is the Mets do not want to rush Anthony Kay to the majors. Also, once the offseason comes, you have a chance to have a much wider market because it would not only be the contenders who are buying, but teams that can look at Syndergaard as a building block to start a season.
Below, I will highlight five teams that either have been rumored to be interested in Syndergaard or that I feel are good fits organizationally for him. And I'll highlight what kind of piece I think could be a headliner in a package. The Mets very likely would not trade Syndergaard for just one of these prospects I am listing, but as part of a two-to-four player package depending on the situation.
Padres - Infielder Luis Urias
The Padres likely have the best farm system in baseball, with eight players ranked inside MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects. They also have been actively scouring the market looking for a controllable young arm to help push up their timeline for winning around their young offensive core.
I would try, but I wouldn't expect them to be willing to trade their No. 1 prospect MacKenzie Gore, who very likely is the top pitching prospect and in the discussion for the best overall prospect in the entire league. I think a deal headlined by Luis Urias, who is the No. 20 ranked prospect in baseball by MLB.com, and maybe another top 100 prospect could be a very enticing package for the Mets and one that the Padres might think about.
Urias has primarily played second base but has experience at shortstop and third base, and the belief is he'll be able to play any of those positions at the big league level. He is a career .308 hitter in the minor leagues, including a .320 average this year, but has struggled in his 23 big league games split over the last two years.
Scouts believe he has a plus hit tool that is likely to produce .300 type batting averages at the big-league level with the versatility to play a few infield spots based on team needs. He has tapped into some power with 17 home runs this year in Triple-A but he's unlikely to be a big power bat at the big-league level.
Astros - Outfielder Kyle Tucker
The Astros have been linked to Syndergaard dating back to last offseason and they have the need with the possibility that Gerrit Cole walks as a free agent this offseason and Justin Verlander not getting younger.
The Astros can headline a deal with Kyle Tucker, who is ranked as the 10th best prospect in baseball by MLB.com and is hitting .275 with 24 home runs and 64 RBI to go with 19 stolen bases this year in Triple-A.
The big pro on Tucker is you are getting a potential offensive force who is an above average hitter with plus power and strong strike zone judgment, but that comes with average speed and average fielding skills. His best spot defensively would likely be in left field. I don't think he would prove to be a liability in the field, but you'd be acquiring him for his middle of the order potential bat.
I think you could also consider a deal headlined by right-handed pitcher Forrest Whitley, but he's had some injury concerns and struggles.
Brewers - Shortstop Brice Turang
It feels like the Mets and Brewers have been doing a tango to find a way for New York to send a starting pitcher to Milwaukee dating back to the nixed Wheeler and Wilmer Flores for Carlos Gomez deal. One thing that has held the Brewers back from being true World Series contenders is they never had that No. 1 caliber starter in the rotation to anchor their great young offense.
I do not believe Milwaukee would be willing to offer their top prospect, second baseman Keston Hiura, in a deal. Given that, I think the Brewers are probably the toughest fit among the teams on this list because their farm system isn't particularly strong. Their next best prospect is shortstop Brice Turang, who was their 1st round pick in 2018 and is ranked as the No. 91 prospect in baseball by MLB.com.
He is an athletic shortstop with an above average hit tool but not much power. He hit .287 with 21 stolen bases in Low-A before a recent promotion to High-A. I find it hard to see the Mets and Brewers connecting on a Syndergaard deal because outside of Hiura they don't really have that young centerpiece of a deal type of asset. I think it would be more likely the Mets and Brewers finally connected on a Wheeler deal before the deadline than the Mets sending Syndergaard there.
Twins - Outfielder Alex Kiriloff
The Twins are in first place due to a strong young core, but they have been dabbling around looking for that impact player from the outside, whether that be a Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel type when they were free agents or the varying available controllable arms on the market.
I think it will be tough to get them to part with their No. 1 prospect -- shortstop Royce Lewis. But the prospect I am targeting as the headlining piece, outfielder Alex Kiriloff, is on a similar prospect trajectory. Kiriloff is ranked as the No. 13 prospect in baseball by MLB.com and is considered one of the best pure hitters in the minor leagues with raw power that has not translated into in-game home run power yet. Maybe he never ends up a big power hitter, but his bat reminds me of Andrew Benintendi of the Red Sox.
Kiriloff had Tommy John Surgery and missed the 2017 season but has bounced back. And there isn't concern among scouts that he won't be able to play right field in the big leagues.
White Sox - Outfielder Luis Robert
The White Sox have been looking to replace Chris Sale ever since they sent him to the Red Sox in that blockbuster deal. They fortunately have gotten an All-Star performance from Lucas Giolito this year, but they are still looking for that arm to go with him.
They have a very highly regarded farm system and if I were the Mets I would be targeting outfielder Luis Robert, who recently participated in the Futures Game and is ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the league by MLB.com. I believe Robert has 20/20 upside with the ability to play center field in the big leagues. If he ends up in the corner outfield he won't have any issue playing those spots.
The Mets need a long-term option in center field and it remains to be seen if Robert will be available, but White Sox GM Rick Hahn is known to be aggressive if he wants something so I wouldn't be shocked.