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New York Mets should trade Steven Matz, not Noah Syndergaard

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Steven Matz #32 of the New York Mets pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 23: Steven Matz #32 of the New York Mets pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Rather than trade Noah Syndergaard this offseason, the New York Mets would serve themselves better by shopping Steven Matz even for a lesser return.

There are those who want to see the New York Mets trade a pitcher for some offensive help and then there are those who want them to keep the starters in place.

Similarly, there are those who would be fine with seeing one of the starters swapped for a bat. If the Mets do indeed trade a starter, it’s Steven Matz who makes the most sense.

Noah Syndergaard is the hot trade chip right now and far from the best. Sure, he’d bring back a nice haul. I’m not sure the Mets would get the best value in return. I don’t see him regressing. He should only get better.

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Assuming they won’t trade Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler is off the table because of his limited control through only next year, Matz seems like a reasonable fit to deal away. He has three arbitration years left, making him an affordable option for most teams.

While it’s fair to say Matz may only get better, I’m unimpressed with how he has performed over the last three seasons. An inability to stay healthy has hurt him. Inconsistency has been a major enemy.

Through parts of four seasons with the Mets, Matz is staring at a 20-26 record and 3.98 ERA. For a younger player, this isn’t a bad start. As a guy about to begin a season in which he turns 28 in May, I’m sold that he is nothing more than an average pitcher on his best days.

Not everyone is as turned off by Matz which is why I think shopping him this winter is essential. Matz suffered through a dreadful 2017 where he went 2-7 with a 6.08 ERA in 13 starts. He was closer to normal in 2018 with a 5-11 record and 3.97 ERA. However, with his walk numbers up and home runs surrendered rate almost equal to what he did in 2017, I’m afraid Matz was a little too lucky this past season.

There’s a fascination for many fans with this organization’s starting pitchers. Because we saw Matz go from a draft pick to an exciting young starter, some are unwilling to part with him until there’s no other option.

Matz is not the guy he was in his handful of 2015 starts. He’s closer to average on his best days. If a trade can transform his roster spot into a big league hitter, I wouldn’t hesitate nearly as much as I would with Syndergaard.

Next. Trading Brandon Nimmo would create a new issue

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Not all pitchers can have a breakout campaign the way Wheeler did in 2018. I believe we’ve seen the best of Matz already. If another team believes he has yet to reach his ceiling, swapping him now could benefit the Mets far more than keeping him around.

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