Instead of catering to Noah Syndergaard's request to pitch to Tomas Nido or Rene Rivera -- which they are reportedly doing on Wednesday -- they should be fixing the issue in order to make Wilson Ramos Syndergaard's top choice.
Bobby Valentine says it will take more than the just two players to resolve the issue.
"It's not just a player situation. It's a situation that involves the whole team," Valentine told me when recording the former Mets manager's new podcast, The Bobby V Experience. "I would involve the pitching coach, the catching coach, the catchers, and maybe a pitcher or two that understand where Syndergaard is coming from and figure out the true problem because sometimes it's only a make-shift problem."
For instance, he explained, "They say Ramos doesn't catch the low ball," and that may be an issue for Syndergaard. "Well," he continued, "let's work on him catching the low ball. Because now if he catches the low ball, it's fine having him out there."
Syndergaard made it clear to team officials last week that he is not comfortable throwing to Ramos, who is batting .369 with 26 RBI since August 1.
Rivera is a career .221 hitter, and Nido has hit .208 over his career.
This past Friday against the Dodgers, when the Mets started Ramos despite Syndergaard's plea, Los Angeles rocked the duo for four runs in five innings.
Syndergaard said all of the right things after the game, though...
"I thought Wilson called a really good game," he said. "I think we were really meshing and flowing out there, so it's a step in the right direction in us building a strong relationship."
Syndergaard is not wrong to think the way he's thinking. He has a 5.20 ERA in 16 starts throwing to Ramos, but a 2.22 ERA during his 10 starts with Nido and one start pitching to Rivera.
It's also worth noting that in 2016, which was Syndergaard's best season to date, he repeatedly gave credit to Rivera, who was his primary catcher the entire year.
None of this new, by the way...
Steve Carlton, Greg Maddux, David Cone, Clayton Kershaw, Jon Lester, Andy Pettitte and countless others had -- at one time or another -- insisted on pitching to the team's backup instead of their everyday catcher.
Valentine said a more simple adjustment the Mets can make would be to get both players talking more every game, especially when neither player is in the starting lineup.
"It's usually the guy that isn't playing (that forms the stronger relationships) because he sits on the bench during the game and talks to the pitchers," Valentine concluded. "As a pitcher, you never want to feel like you're alone out there, but some pitchers feel too alone and need a friend out there."
Mets manager Mickey Callaway believes Syndergaard will be fine.
"Noah obviously understands at this point that whoever is in the lineup, he's going to go ahead and compete," Callaway said recently. "I'm proud of him for that."
I believe Callaway and trust in Syndergaard, who is still striving to be one of the game's best pitchers. The fact is, he is not yet a great pitcher. He's a really, really good pitcher with one awesome season and the potential to be consistently great. However, great pitchers pitch great no matter who is behind the plate.
Maddux may have not liked pitching to Javy Lopez, but he had no trouble pitching to 25 other catchers during his career, including long-time battery-mate Henry Blanco. He just didn't want Lopez.
Interestingly, though, despite referring to Blanco as his "personal catcher," with whom he had a career 3.48 ERA, Maddux actually had a better ERA (2.35) when pitching to Lopez.
Similarly, Jacob deGrom has mostly pitched to five catchers during his six-year career and he has an ERA lower than 3.30 with all of them, including Ramos and Rivera.
Again, great pitchers pitch great no matter who is on the mound.
That said, the Mets are changing course and giving Syndergaard one more shot to look wise as multiple reports now indicate Rivera will start with him Wednesday when facing the Rockies at Coors Field.
For the sake of his reputation and credibility, though, Syndergaard better pitch well or risk looking bad.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!