NEW YORK — Noah Syndergaard wore a blue Santa suit and a Mets-themed cap Tuesday afternoon at Citi Field as he handed out presents to children during the Mets’ annual kids' holiday party.
The Mets’ ace normally embodies the role of a superhero, but Santa, along with his elves, Jose Reyes and Brandon Nimmo, helped spread cheer to more than 100 local elementary school students.
As the students told Syndergaard what they would like to receive for Christmas, he revealed that his list is topped with bringing home a World Series trophy to Flushing for the first time since 1986.
“Top priority,” Syndergaard said. “Anything falling short of that is a disappointment. We’re all confident going into the 2017 season with [Yoenis] Cespedes back, Neil [Walker]. We’re all really excited.”
The Mets have already given their fans their main Christmas gift of the offseason by re-signing Cespedes to a four-year deal worth $110 million, and any moves to come could qualify as stocking stuffers. The team is searching for at least one reliever and could potentially use another bench piece.
The team’s main focus is trying to trade either Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce, and Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson said he and his staff have continued dialogue with teams and free agents. The Mets engaged other teams about Granderson and Bruce at baseball’s annual Winter Meetings last week but were unable to make a trade, as some chips still need to fall in the free agent market.
Alderson indicated that he expects to make a deal before spring training begins in two months.
“Going into spring training doesn’t mean you come out of spring training with the same 25-man roster or configuration,” Alderson said. “There are very few trades that are made in spring training. There are some that are made in spring training, but the idea you’re going to make a big trade in spring training would be a little unusual. There’s a lot of time between now and the beginning of spring training.”
Trading an outfielder figures to be the Mets’ last major move of the offseason, and the team as constructed should contend for a third straight playoff berth.
The lineup should be stout after the team retained Cespedes and Walker, and the Mets will have one of the best rotations in MLB, provided the starters remain healthy.
Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom each underwent season-ending surgeries this past season, and Zack Wheeler experienced setbacks in his attempted return from Tommy John surgery.
Syndergaard believes the Mets’ rotation can match any in the majors, and that would have been the case even if the Nationals landed Chris Sale, who ultimately went to Boston.
In response to a tweet saying a Sale-led Nationals rotation would have been the best in MLB, Syndergaard tweeted: “I agree to disagree #nope.”
Syndergaard pointed to the bond among the Mets starters as a reason for their success, and the unit is hoping for a healthier 2017.
“Their ability is outstanding,” Syndergaard said. “The fact we are all kind of like a tight-knit brotherhood within ourselves. We’re all rooting for one another, and we’ve got really good camaraderie among us.”