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Mets, Noah Syndergaard avoid arbitration with deal for 2021 season

The Mets avoided salary arbitration with one of their highest-profile players on Tuesday, agreeing to a one-year, $9.7 million contract with Noah Syndergaard, a source said. The club has not confirmed the deal.

Syndergaard made the same salary on a pro-rated basis last season, which he missed entirely after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in March. Mets president Sandy Alderson said recently that a June 2021 return would be a “reasonable expectation” for Syndergaard, who continues to rehab.

How Syndergaard returns from surgery will be critical to his short- and long-term future, considering he is scheduled to reach free agency after the 2021 season.

“From what I’ve heard, he’s on schedule or maybe a little bit ahead of schedule,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said last week. “You know how Noah works and goes about it. He’s a hard worker, so he’s a guy that was going to face this surgery and rehab the best you could face it. So he’s doing it as we expected.”

Regardless of his timeline, Syndergaard figures to be a significant part of the Mets’ 2021 plans. Jacob deGrom is locked in as the team’s ace, with Marcus Stroman behind him. The team is actively canvassing the free-agent and trade markets for additional starting pitching help; that could take the form of another frontline starter such as Trevor Bauer or any number of lesser arms. After Stroman, the Mets’ current top starting options include David Peterson, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo.