Like many aces who have come before him, Noah Syndergaard prefers throwing to some catchers more than others. In Syndergaard’s case, he actually has two catchers that he likes more than Mets starter Wilson Ramos. When Syndergaard pitches to back-ups Tomas Nido and Rene Rivera, which he has done in 11 starts, he has a 2.22 ERA. When he pitches to Ramos, as he has in his 15 other starts this season, that number more than doubles to a 5.09 ERA. The Mets don’t really seem to give a crap about this.
Over the weekend, Syndergaard went to Mets management and requested that he no longer be forced to pitch to Ramos. The Mets ignored that request, and Ramos was behind the plate on Sunday when Syndergaard gave up four earned runs in five innings; the Mets lost 10-7. According to MLB.com, Syndergaard was in meetings with management throughout Monday afternoon and evening, but wasn’t in the locker room by the time it was opened for the press. Ramos was similarly nowhere to be found. Manager Mickey Callaway and GM Brodie Van Wagenen were around, though, and both made it clear that Syndergaard is just going to have to grin and bear it:
“I’ve told [Syndergaard] that there are going to be lineups where different catchers are going to catch, and he knows that he’s got to go out there and compete when the lineup is posted,” Callaway said.
Added Van Wagenen: “From our standpoint, we don’t have personal catchers.”
On the one hand, Ramos is hitting well this season—.301/.363/.438 to go along with 14 homers—and the Mets understandably want his bat in the lineup whenever possible. On the other, competent franchises have never really had a problem juggling starting catcher duties in ways that keep good hitters in the lineup as often as possible and satisfy the preferences of star pitchers. Even the Mets were able to do it for Jacob deGrom last year during his Cy Young campaign. This isn’t something that should be so hard to figure out, but nothing is ever easy for the Mets.