Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland talks to Noah Syndergaard on April 9, 2018, at Marlins Park in Miami.

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Keidel: Callaway's Message Of Love Got Tossed Aside When Dave Eiland Made Noah Syndergaard Remarks

Jason Keidel
May 16, 2018 - 2:58 pm
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Aaron Boone and Mickey Callaway brought a new baseball paradigm to the Big Apple. They are as much motivators as strategists and would love their players until they love themselves. 

You can decide if it's working in the Bronx, or if it's the absurd amount of talent the Yankees have. But even the Mets got off to a surprising 12-2 start, before plunging perilously close to the .500 waters. 

Callaway, in particular, flexed his loving side during his opening presser, pounding the group hug motif to an almost awkward degree. Which makes it weird to hear Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland say Noah Syndergaard hasn't done much in the majors yet. 

It's an odd thing to say publicly about your most talented pitcher, who also happens to be the only one on the staff with a World Series win. Especially when you consider Callaway is a pitching coach by trade and surely would hire someone spiritually simpatico. But Eiland, for whatever reason, went rogue. Not the best timing when the Mets (20-18) have already dropped to fourth place in the NL East. 

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Mets fans can argue whether Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom is the Met's best or most successful pitcher, but no one doubts Syndergaard's natural ability, his charisma or the impact his "Thor" persona has had on the fan base. He's also a joy to watch, to cover and follow via social media. His fastball is arguably the best on the planet, hence his comic book monicker. He has no rap sheet, posse or demands. So why say it? 

It's not like Syndergaard is a neophyte. He's started 70 regular-season games, has a career 2.92 ERA and 479 strikeouts in 415 2/3 innings pitched. In the playoffs, he's been even better, posting a career 2.42 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched. Plus, he just seems like an awesome guy, with none of the inherent hubris we saw from the dearly departed Dark Knight of Gotham. If any Met should be heralded, it's Thor. 

Maybe it wasn't an emotional death blow. And Eiland has since moonwalked from his remarks, massaging them into a more positive bent, calling Syndergaard an "upper echelon guy" -- perhaps the most Captain Obvious statement made in baseball this season. In some textbook schadenfreude, the "overhyped" Syndergaard pitched the Mets to a much-needed win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night, snapping a six-game losing streak at home. Between his pitching and his deafening silence, Syndergaard could not have responded to Eiland any better. 

The Mets have the one thing the Yankees don't -- two aces -- and you best believe that Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman would give a leg for Syndergaard's right arm. With all due respect to Luis Severino, who has all the bona fides of a front-line starter and All-Star, Thor would be the Yankees' ace the moment he slipped on the pinstripes. 

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But this is what the Mets do. Either whiff on someone they should have gotten or stain something sublime they already have in the building. If Syndergaard were a slacker, someone who needed poking or prodding, then the mind game would hold some logic. Other than his long blonde hair, there's nothing about Syndergaard that suggests he's not a full-blown adult. 

Plus, he's hardly cratered this year. After beating the Blue Jays, Syndergaard is 3-1 with a 3.14 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings, and has surrendered just four home runs. What about that, or anything, would lead Eiland to question Thor's accomplishments? His boss, Callaway, must have cringed upon hearing about his subordinate's misguided remarks.

Besides, the new managerial wave is to love these young men until they love themselves. Especially someone as lovable as Noah Syndergaard. And someone as big, hard-throwing and dominant as Thor. 

Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel