NEW YORK – Steven Matz joined the Mets in 2015, amid great fanfare, a local product that had an immediate impact on a National League pennant winning team. The left-hander eventually became one of the longest-serving players in the franchise, with nearly six seasons in the organization. This run came to one
NEW YORK —
That run ended on Wednesday when the Mets traded Matz for a trio of right-handers – Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz and Josh Winckowski – for the Blue Jays. The move gives New York significant relief for Matz’s $ 5.2 million salary, which it can now use for other purposes.
Get Mets: RHPs Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz and Josh Winckowski
Get Blue Jays: LHP Steven Matz
The Mets remain in talks to get an outfield player for the starting center, with Jackie Bradley Jr. being an obvious candidate as well as a starting pitcher. The team has teamed up with top free agent Trevor Bauer, who is reportedly aiming for a record annual average for his contract.
Trading with Matz doesn’t necessarily guarantee that New York will sign Bradley or Bauer. But it ensures it can chase one or both of them, with less risk of bumping into the luxury tax threshold of $ 210 million for Major League Baseball – a “significant demarcation,” said team president Sandy Alderson. After trading with Matz, the team has luxury tax obligations of approximately $ 175 million for 2021.
Matz was an undisclosed candidate in November due to his salary, but the Mets instead signed a $ 5.2 million contract with him to avoid arbitration. The team officials said they wanted to reach out to Matz as a starter and envisioned him as the bottom line behind Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi. However, this opportunity was not a guarantee of success. Matz struggled throughout the 2020 season with an ERA of 9.68 in nine games and lack of time due to left shoulder fatigue. As a result, he lost his grip on a point of rotation.
The off-season came after Matz saw long-awaited consistency in 2018 and 19, going between 16 and 21 in those two seasons with an ERA of 4.09 and an MLB average of 96 ERA +. After fighting injuries for years as a potential player and as a young pitcher of the Major League, Matz started these two campaigns an average of 30 times per season. He also made a significant impact on the organization and the local community, setting up his Tru32 Foundation and becoming the club’s 2020 Roberto Clemente Award nominee. He was one of the Mets’ most active players in offering COVID-19 relief funds.
In return for someone with that reputation, the Mets were given three right-handers who were relatively close to the major leagues. The 25-year-old Reid-Foley has played 21 major league games in the last three seasons. Winckowski, 22, has an ERA of 3.35 in 54 games in four minor league campaigns, including posting an ERA of 2.69 in 24 games between Class A Advanced Dunedin and Class A Lansing in 2019. year old Díaz made his MLB debut in a game for Toronto in 2019.
At the time of trading, Diaz was No. 26 on the Blue Jays per MLB pipeline while Winckowski was No. 27.
Perhaps more importantly, the Mets received a pay cut for Matz, whose relatively high financial commitment did not guarantee him to form the team. What New York does with this flexibility becomes one of the top questions Alderson and acting general manager Zack Scott face less than a month ahead of the scheduled start of spring training.