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OC Register: Angels’ Noah Syndergaard is back to full health with a change of scenery


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Noah Syndergaard’s first order of business this off-season is a predictable one. He is moving to Orange County.

The Angels’ newest pitcher has not thrown a slider or a curveball in two years, a necessary condition of recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He could try to begin his off-season throwing program near his home in Dallas, but Syndergaard described the weather there as “bipolar.”

“Thirty (degrees) one day, sunny the next,” he said on a Zoom with reporters Friday. “It’s not very conducive to getting outside. My throwing program’s going to take precedence over everything else.”

Much is at stake. The Angels will pay Syndergaard $21 million next season. That is the highest single-year base salary for a pitcher in franchise history. And considering how little he has pitched recently ― two innings in the majors and eight in the minors last year, after zero in 2020 ― Syndergaard represents a sizable wager on past performance.

That’s how Syndergaard, 29, sees it too.

“Just being in the big leagues for six years, in an organization for eight, regardless of where I was, it was time for a change, a change in scenery so I could get back to my old self,” he said. “The last two years I felt like I was stuck in a limbo, a sort of a rut. It’s one year to get back to where I used to be.”

Syndergaard said he was offered multi-year contracts whose total value would have exceeded the Angels’, but their average annual values were lower than that of the $18.4 million qualifying offer he rejected from the New York Mets.

As a Met, Syndergaard made news for getting his hair cut and starting a book club. He pitched in a World Series and earned an endearing nickname (“Thor”) reflecting his long blond locks.

Signing elsewhere “was the hardest decision in my life,” Syndergaard said, “but I definitely think I made the right decision.”

It helped that the Mets did not offer him a contract. They did not have a general manager in place until Thursday, when former Angels GM Billy Eppler was officially introduced. Once Syndergaard decided a change of scenery was in order, Anaheim made sense to him as a landing place.

The Angels are expected to employ a six-man starting rotation in 2022 after doing so for the first time in 2021. It’s a necessary accommodation to American League MVP Shohei Ohtani, who made 23 starts as a pitcher and 126 at designated hitter last season. Other than Ohtani, no Angels starting pitcher threw more than 99 innings all season.

Syndergaard acknowledged he will be on an innings limit next year, but the number has yet to be determined.

“I’m confident the six-man will help me stay healthy,” he said.

Minasian met with Syndergaard and his agent, Ryan Hamill of CAA Sports, last week in New York. If $21 million and a six-man rotation was not enough to woo Syndergaard to Anaheim, the plan Minasian presented helped seal the deal.

Syndergaard said Minasian identified some of the same flaws in his pitching mechanics that Hamill had pointed out previously. He described the depth of Minasian’s pitching knowledge as a “breath of fresh air.”

“It was a no-brainer once I had that sit-down meeting with Perry,” Syndergaard said. “He had a really in-depth plan of attack to get me where I was in 2015, 2016, 2018. He had a great game plan that I’m 100 percent confident is going to keep me healthy, allow me to flourish and blossom to my true potential.”

Syndergaard went 47-31 with a 3.32 earned-run average in parts of six seasons with the Mets. He was only healthy for the majority of four of the last seven seasons. In those years, he averaged more than 171 innings while pitching to a 3.32 ERA.

In 2017, Syndergaard tore his right latissimus dorsi muscle and was limited to seven starts.

Now he is fully healthy, ready for a normal off-season in the California sunshine.

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it's very encouraging to read these articles the last few days and see thor talking about perry showing him analytics against individual batters, pitching mechanics, his depth of conversation on pitching. not gonna lie, can't get enough of that, in regards to building up my confidence in the FO.

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8 hours ago, ukyah said:

it's very encouraging to read these articles the last few days and see thor talking about perry showing him analytics against individual batters, pitching mechanics, his depth of conversation on pitching. not gonna lie, can't get enough of that, in regards to building up my confidence in the FO.

Thank you

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I like the personal wooing approach here dining in NYC with substantive plan and analytics.  Wish I could have been there.  Well done and I bet this will work out.  This reminds me of when the Florida Marlins successfully wooed Jose Reyes at Midnight when the Clock struck with a Reyes T shirt at the Carlyle Hotel ( I know it ).  The only problem is they didn't include a no trade clause and shipped him off to Toronto soon enough.  So much for Jeff Loria luring him to Miami. But this is only a 1 year deal so no issue.

Ironically David Samson was there at the Carlyle wooing and as I understand it negatively commented about this wooing.

Glass Houses Mr. Samson?

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