Mets pitcher Steven Matz has a big opportunity to improve his future this year
By Tim Boyle
Steven Matz has one of the biggest opportunities of all this year for the New York Mets. It’s time for him to step up for the club.
Minus Noah Syndergaard for at least the 2020 season and possibly even into next year after Tommy John Surgery claimed him, the rest of the New York Mets starting pitchers are going to need to step up for the club. This means Marcus Stroman is likely the man we’ll view as the number two behind Jacob deGrom with the other three falling in behind.
Heading into the season, we talked plenty about the battle for the fifth spot between Steven Matz and Michael Wacha. Out of sheer need, the battle ended in a draw and each should file in as the number four and five when the year does begin.
More than anyone, Matz has an opportunity. Along with deGrom, he is the only other starting pitcher healthy and under team control for the 2021 campaign.
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Stroman, Wacha, and Rick Porcello are all free agent-bound after this year. We can expect maybe one to re-sign with New York. The other two are likely to capitalize on their performances this year or settle for a lesser deal with a change of scenery.
Matz has been a bit of an outsider on the club for several years now. After such an amazing start in 2015 followed by a solid near-full campaign in 2016, expectations were high.
In the years since, Matz has settled in as a fourth or fifth starter. When he’s good, he’s masterful. When he’s bad, there’s usually an extremely early hook.
I think many Mets fans would have agreed over the last few years that for the sake of keeping other arms longer, they would part with Matz. He was never the staff’s ace or near it. Nor should we expect him to.
However, there are fewer pitchers to fall behind now and his future can completely change if the lone lefty starter in the rotation can turn things around. I still think it’s too early to completely rule out keeping Matz long term. There’s no rush to doing so, but at least his candidacy has re-opened.
Matz is no longer fighting with Wacha for a rotation spot. Instead, he’ll battle for his future with the Amazins and in baseball itself. He needs to show every general manager out there that he is a starting pitcher they should be willing to pay the big bucks to.
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The Mets don’t need Matz showing up as the southpaw version of deGrom. Just give them third starter material from a guy who would have at best started the year as the number five.