NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, November 5, 2015, 8:05 PM
Noah Syndergaard stood in the dugout at Citi Field and just stared at scene in front of him. There were the Kansas City Royals jumping into a pile, celebrating their World Series win over the Mets Sunday night. While others may not have been able to watch it, Syndergaard did, despite the emptiness he felt.
Four days later, Syndergaard says that emptiness has turned into a hunger to be the one celebrating after next year’s World Series.
“Losing that game, watching them celebrate on the field like that was heartbreaking,” Syndergaard said. “It definitely left a hunger in everyone’s minds — to get back there next year and win the whole thing.”
Jacob deGrom, who appeared with Syndergaard Thursday in front of excited fans in the Buffalo David Britton shop at Macy’s, says he felt that same way.
“Now that we got a taste of it, we want it even more,” deGrom said. “I am really looking forward to getting back after it even more.”
They are not alone. Wednesday afternoon, while talking about his high expectations for next season, Mets GM Sandy Alderson called Syndergaard, deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler, who’s expected back from Tommy John in midseason, the best rotation in baseball.
Syndergaard smiled when he heard that.
“I would say so,” said Syndergaard, the only Mets pitcher to register a win in the World Series.
“It’s an honor to be mentioned with guys like Noah, Matt and Steven. Those guys are all great pitchers and I try to learn everything I can from them,” said deGrom, who followed up his NL Rookie of the Year campaign in 2014 with a 14-8 mark in the regular season and 3-1 record with a 2.88 ERA in the postseason. “It’s fun to be a part of it, we feed off each other. Seeing a guy go out there and have success makes you want to go out and do the same thing, we motivate each other.
“You look at us during batting practice, normally we are all hanging out joking around rooting for each other. You know they are rooting for you when you are out on the mound,” deGrom said. “I think that is what makes us tough, besides just our stuff. It’s that we’re working together.”
And deGrom sees the Mets rotation being even better next season. Both he and Harvey got past the 200 innings mark, while Syndergaard, who went 9-7 with a 3.24 in his rookie season, got to 199, so they will likely be exempt from the innings limits that young pitchers are kept to in their first few seasons.
While Harvey was the most vocal critic of the innings limits complications, none of the starters were comfortable with them.
“I think it will be nice to have a regular five-day, five-man rotation and stick to that,” said deGrom, who made 30 starts this season. “It’s a lot easier when you can have that routine and not have to skip starts. I think it will help us out too having a normal routine and sticking to it.”
They were also glad to know that Terry Collins, who signed a two-year extension on Wednesday, would be back managing the Mets in 2016 and very pleased that pitching coach Dan Warthen was asked back as well.
“He’s done a great job for us. Ever since I came up, Dan helped us out a lot,” deGrom said. “In game stuff, noticing little things you are doing, telling you and making the adjustments as game goes on, he’s great at that. He’s good to talk to between innings about the next three guys coming up, what the game plan.
“He’s meant a lot to me,” deGrom said. “I’m thankful he’s coming back.”
Now deGrom and Syndergaard will have to deal with a shortened offseason, having played deeper into the fall than ever before. DeGrom said he will throw lightly in a few weeks, while Syndergaard will wait.
“I’ll get my arm a little more of a break,” said Syndergaard. “I was 65 innings or so over my max from last year, but my arm felt great at the end of the year. So I will just give my arm a little more of a break.”
DeGrom added that despite his declaration during the NLCS, he has no plans to chop off his trademark hair this offseason. “I’ll just clean it up.”
FLASHES: Curtis Granderson had surgery Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. The right fielder tore the ligaments in the NLCS but played through the World Series. He is expected to be ready for spring training. …Matt Harvey was named the 2015 NL Comeback Player of the Year… The Mets added left-handed pitcher Josh Smoker to the 40-man roster Thursday. He was 3-0 with six saves and a 3.12 ERA (17 earned runs/49.0 innings) in 41 combined games in the minor leagues this season. . Smoker issued 19 walks and struck out 60.