The Mets extended one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offers to righthander Noah Syndergaard and rightfielder Michael Conforto on Saturday night, an expected early-offseason formality from the team.
Conforto and Syndergaard, who are free agents, have until Nov. 17 — 10 days after the Sunday deadline for clubs to extend the offer — to accept or reject. If they reject it and sign with another team, the Mets will receive a bonus draft pick as compensation.
Near the end of the season, Syndergaard was open about wanting to stay with the Mets and, specifically, hoping to get the qualifying offer.
"It would be something I would be extremely grateful for," he said Sept. 28. "It’s definitely something I’m hoping for."
He pitched two innings in September, his only major-league appearances in the past two seasons. A one-year contract would be a way for him to re-establish himself and give free agency another try during the 2022-23 offseason. He will be 30 then, still young enough to cash in with a nine-figure deal if he has a strong season.
That is the strategy Marcus Stroman deployed the past 12 months. After opting out of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he accepted the qualifying offer and had one of his best years, posting a 3.02 ERA in a career-high 33 starts (179 innings).
Conforto’s answer isn’t an obvious yes. He had a mediocre 2021 — hitting .232 with a .344 OBP and .384 slugging percentage — but has the kind of established track record as an above-average hitter that teams typically are willing to bet on.
The Mets’ two other most prominent free agents, Stroman and Javier Baez, were ineligible for the qualifying offer. Players who have received it before (Stroman) or are traded during the season (Baez) are exempt from this system.
Because the Mets still are without a head of baseball operations, these and other decisions have been made by a baseball-operations department run by team president Sandy Alderson.