With the New York Mets re-signing Steven Matz on Wednesday, the organization has now provided themselves with an ample number of potential options.
Before Wednesday night’s non-tender deadline around Major League Baseball, the New York Mets and Steven Matz agreed to a one-year $5.2 million deal which keeps the 29-year old left-hander in Queens for at least one more season. While there were certainly mixed reactions across social media by Mets fans regarding Matz’s return, the deal makes sense for the organization on a variety of levels.
First and foremost we have to remember that one of the Mets’ biggest issues over the last couple of seasons has been their lack of starting pitching depth.
The organization currently has Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and David Peterson penciled in for the starting rotation, with Noah Syndergaard potentially returning at some point next summer as well. Beyond that, there are certainly question marks in terms of the last two spots in the starting rotation for Opening Day, as well as who will be available should an injury arise.
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Steven Matz, despite his forgettable 2020 season, answers both of those question marks. Matz is an established Major League pitcher who can step up and make a spot-start during the season for the Mets, or he can be inserted into the rotation as the team’s fifth starter until Noah Syndergaard is ready to make his Major League return.
You could almost equate Matz re-upping with the Mets for one more season to the deal the Mets made last year with free agent Michael Wacha, which was a one-year, $3 million contract that was loaded with performance bonuses.
That deal, as we all know, ended in an unmitigated disaster on the Mets end but the sole purpose in foresight was to establish depth for the starting rotation.
On the other hand, the Mets currently only have one left-handed pitcher that could potentially make their Opening Day bullpen in 27-year old Daniel Zamora. Justin Wilson is currently a free agent and the team non-tendered their other left-hander in Chasen Shreve on Wednesday evening. Matz could be a potential option to fill one of those left-handed roles in the bullpen next season, should he not make the starting rotation.
Theclub tried experimenting with Matz in the bullpen last season after his ill-fated starts on the mound. Yet, while he did make three appearances to the tune of an unsightly 7.20 ERA, he also struggled with a shoulder injury that never allowed the organization to get a true grasp of Matz’s abilities coming out of the bullpen. The front office will now have the ability to evaluate Matz out of the bullpen potentially this spring as well as this upcoming regular season if that is the route they choose to take with the lefty.
Lastly, Matz could potentially be included in a trade at some point this offseason if the Mets no longer see him as a fit for the organization, and they simply could’ve viewed tendering him a contract as a way to buy the organization some time.
Fortunately for the Mets, they have the ability to keep Matz on the roster as they clearly aren’t hurting financially as many other organizations are. Surely there were going to be teams interested in Matz on the free-agent market had he been non-tendered as there is always value in left-handed pitchers, especially pitchers with talent that hasn’t been fully maximized yet.
However, it’s simply speculation on my part and there is no guarantee that Matz is traded this offseason.
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Sandy Alderson helped oversee the development of Steven Matz during his time as the General Manager and you would assume that Alderson would love to play a part in Matz getting back on track. Simply put there are numerous possibilities involving Matz and the Mets in 2021 that provide the organization flexibility. If none of the options mentioned above pan out, the Mets can also simply release Matz by March 17th and only owe him $832,000. It’s a very low-risk, high-reward move that Sandy Alderson should be given credit for early on this offseason.