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Mets don’t plan to shop Noah Syndergaard this winter

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One of the most perplexing things involving the Mets over the past year were the persistent rumors that they planned to trade Noah Syndergaard. The cropped up last offseason and flew around like crazy at the trade deadline this past season.

The rumors were perplexing for a couple of reasons. The biggest one being that he is under team control through the 2021 season and no one thinks one must trade a guy with two or three seasons of team control left.

Another reason was that the Mets, on, paper anyway, have seemed like they could contend with Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard at the head of a strong rotation. They need more pieces of course — the bullpen and back end of the rotation needs some help — but it’s not hard to imagine the Mets being able to win with those two. And, in the event, the Mets made a very strong push in the second half of 2019 that fell just short, giving them a glimpse of what is possible with just a few improvements.

A final thing is the fact that, even if you felt like you had to trade Syndergaard, doing so in 2019 was not ideal because he had a down year, posting a 4.28 ERA, though his peripherals are still strong.

Whatever that all amounted to, the speculation that the Mets might deal Syndergaard has been put to rest by Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who said over the weekend that “we have made it very clear that we’re not going to engage on Noah.” Nothing is 100% definitive when it comes to front office messaging, but that comes pretty close.

Now, let’s see if the Mets actually add those couple of pieces that they need.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract includes opt-outs after both 2020 and 2021, which is certainly good for Castellanos, allowing him to go back out on the market if he has a big year. Odd that the Reds would agree to that, but on an annual basis it’s kind of a bargain for them so you figure that has something to do with it.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.