Dodgers agree to one-year contract with pitcher Noah Syndergaard
The Dodgers reached an agreement Wednesday with free-agent pitcher Noah Syndergaard on a one-year contract, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
The deal will pay Syndergaard $13 million guaranteed and includes another $1.5 million in performance bonuses.
The deal should fill out the Dodgers’ starting rotation for 2023, and gives the 30-year-old Syndergaard an opportunity to build his stock up following a decent but unspectacular 2022 season with the Angels and Philadelphia Phillies.
In 25 outings (24 starts) with those teams, Syndergaard went 10-10 with a 3.94 ERA in 134 2/3 innings.
It was a far cry from the right-hander’s All-Star form as a member of the New York Mets earlier in his career.
Still, after missing all of 2020 and most of 2021 because of Tommy John surgery, Syndergaard flashed enough potential for the Dodgers to take a chance on him rebounding even more next season.
The Dodgers acquired right-handed reliever J.P. Feyereisen on Wednesday, trading minor league pitcher Jeff Belge to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The seven-year veteran no longer flirts with triple digits on the radar gun, nor ranks among the league leaders in strikeouts as he once did, back when he was bequeathed with his “Thor” nickname and earned Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award votes in 2015 and 2016.
Since then, he’s been plagued by injuries (a torn muscle in his right lat in 2017, his elbow surgery in March 2020) and inconsistency (highlighted by a 4.29 ERA in 2019, his last full season with the Mets).
Last year was a step back in the right direction.
Syndergaard limited hard contact, ranking well above league average in average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage. He displayed a five-pitch arsenal that was highlighted an effective sinker-slider combination, limiting opponents to a sub-.230 batting average between them. Most of all, he stayed healthy while handling a full-season workload, avoiding any stints on the injured list while averaging almost 5 2/3 innings per start.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Syndergaard had offers for more years and money from other teams.
However, he was impressed with the Dodgers’ recent track record of helping veteran pitchers improve under their staff, and wanted another chance to bet on himself before re-entering free agency next winter.
In Los Angeles, he’ll join a rotation that is also expected to include Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May, and has prospects Gavin Stone, Ryan Pepiot and Bobby Miller also knocking on the door of the big league roster.
Adding another starting pitcher had been a priority for the Dodgers all winter, with Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney having departed in free agency and Walker Buehler likely to miss all of 2023 after Tommy John procedure.
Ahead of this month’s winter meetings, the club made a run at three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander.
They offered Verlander two years and $80 million guaranteed with a significant amount of money deferred, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Verlander chose a two-year, $86.66-million offer from the Mets that included an option for a third season, making the decision before the Dodgers could present any further counter proposals, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
As if Carlos Correa’s ties to the Astros cheating scandal weren’t enough, signing with the Giants gave Dodgers fans another reason to loathe him.
In the weeks since, the team pivoted in its search for more pitching help, showing interest in less expensive additions they believed had high upside.
With Syndergaard, they found a match.
And now, they’ll be banking on the hope that in his second year removed from Tommy John, the veteran right-hander will become the club’s latest veteran success story on the mound.
Dodgers acquire reliever Feyereisen
The Dodgers acquired right-handed reliever J.P. Feyereisen in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Feyereisen, 29, was designated for assignment by the Rays on Tuesday after undergoing surgery last week to repair the rotator cuff and labrum in his right shoulder. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays expected the procedure to shut down Feyereisen from throwing for four months, meaning he likely won’t be available to pitch for the Dodgers until at least after the All-Star break.
In return, the Dodgers are sending the Rays minor league pitcher Jeff Belge.
Times staff writers Jorge Castillo and Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.
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