Though no spring training games have taken place in 12 days, the Mets still suffered a catastrophic injury, losing Noah Syndergaard for the season.
Syndergaard has a torn UCL in his right elbow and needs Tommy John surgery. The early expectation is that Syndergaard will miss some regular-season time in 2021 as well.
This is disastrous for both the team and the player. Syndergaard is set for free agency after the 2021 season, which means he'll need to return next year and show he's healthy and still effective in order to get the huge contract he's long appeared headed for. The Mets have opted against trading him despite rumors in two consecutive offseasons and last trade deadline.
The 2020 Mets will obviously be worse off. Suddenly, their starting rotation goes from a major strength to closer to the middle of the pack. Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in the National League but teams won't be struck by fear when having to face Rick Porcello, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz in a three-game series.
This will change the outlook for the NL East. We don't yet know how many games the 2020 regular season will be so updated over-unders haven't been released, but the Mets' will surely drop by a couple games with this news.
The absence of Syndergaard in 2020 will help the Phillies, Braves and Nationals. Though, really, the Phillies have pounded Syndergaard the last two seasons. In seven meetings since 2018, Syndergaard has a 6.62 ERA and 1.95 WHIP against the Phillies, who've hit him hard for extra bases and run relentlessly against him on the basepaths.
Syndergaard's best work within the division (excluding the Marlins) has come against the Nationals. He has a 3.15 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 97 career innings against the defending champs.