Before these seismic events interrupted life as we know it, the trajectory for someone in Noah Syndergaard's current circumstances would have been predictable.
The talented Mets right-hander had reconstructive elbow surgery Thursday, a procedure that typically requires 12 to 15 months of recovery. Not every rehabilitation goes as planned, of course, and so while it's possible that Syndergaard could be back in the first half of 2021, there is no certainty in this, and with his free agency looming after next season, evaluators expect that the course of his return will be conservative.
The road map for the Mets would have been simple: Hope for Syndergaard's return relatively early in the rehabilitation timeline. Hope he reestablishes himself quickly to rediscover the dominance he has shown at times during his career. And hope that he either would become an important part of a rotation contending for the playoffs, or at least rebuild his trade value for a possible sell-off in July 2021 before he hits free agency.
But the longstanding baseball calculus is bound to change because of the coronavirus pandemic, and how the Mets handle Syndergaard might reflect a dramatic shift in the sport's financial landscape that now seems inevitable. As teams are forced to adjust to what could turn out to be the loss of billions of dollars for Major League Baseball this year and beyond, there will be many surprising decisions.