PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — If Noah Syndergaard harbors any ill will about having his 2017 salary unilaterally imposed upon him, the Mets’ scheduled Opening Day starter has no intention of showing it.
“I’m just kind of indifferent towards it right now,” Syndergaard said a day after the sides failed to agree to a salary for this season.
The Mets instead invoked the right that all teams have over players who have not accumulated enough service time to reach arbitration, renewing Syndergaard’s contract, in this case for $605,500. The figure was reached through a formula that the Mets use to set salaries for all of their pre-arbitration players, which is based partly on statistical benchmarks.
Syndergaard, 24, hoped the Mets would break from that formula after he went 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA in 2016. He was the only member of the starting rotation to avoid a stint on the disabled list last season.
“Yeah, I did not sign my contract because I don’t agree with it,” he said. “But other than that, I don’t discuss my contract with the media.”
A year ago, Jacob deGrom endured a similar contract situation, with his salary set by the Mets after an agreement could not be reached.
Syndergaard insisted that he is not disappointed. “No, not really,” he said. “I know what I’m capable of and how I perform out there on the field, and I’m just going to continue to focus on getting better each and every day.”
Lucas Duda appears to be past the back and hip soreness that delayed his appearance in Grapefruit League games. In his second straight game in the starting lineup, this time as the designated hitter, Duda doubled twice and knocked in a run in a 3-1 victory over the Astros.
Duda has three doubles in his first two games. “I’m feeling great,” he said. “I hope it continues.”
Manager Terry Collins was iffy about whether Duda would play for a second straight day after missing the first seven exhibition games. But Duda lobbied to play in the game.
Righthander Zack Wheeler is about to reach a milestone in the treacherous road back from Tommy John surgery. He is scheduled to make his exhibition debut on Friday, according to pitching coach Dan Warthen. Wheeler has not pitched in a big-league game since September 2014.With David Lennon