Earlier this season, it was looking like the Steven Matz trade was an unmitigated disaster for the New York Mets. He was among the American League leaders in multiple categories. Had the Mets been outsmarted by the Toronto Blue Jays?
Matz did come back to earth. Through 16 starts, he’s 8-4 with a 4.43 ERA. This is about where you might think he would be on a good team: winning often but in large part thanks to some run support.
There are two sides to every deal, though. Far from decided, I wanted to check to see how this trade is performing from a New York point of view.
Are the Mets or the Blue Jays the early winner in the Steven Matz trade?
Matz helped fortify the Toronto rotation and make it just a little bit stronger, especially in the early part of the year. As Mets fans have also witnessed plenty in 2021, the innings he gives them are also important. Even as an ineffective arm on a regular basis, he would have been a huge help for the team in Flushing this year.
We can’t simply look at it from that perspective. The Mets did get some players back for Matz. Two directly added via this trade have even seen some big league action.
In case you forgot, the trade sent Josh Winckowski, Yennsy Diaz, and Sean Reid-Foley to New York. Winckowski was flipped to the Kansas City Royals in the Khalil Lee deal—a trade with some poor early returns. Lee had a shot to play often for the Mets during one stretch in the late spring. He failed to make much contact at all. He is technically not a part of the Matz deal, but can end up as a tie-breaker.
For now, it’s Diaz and Reid-Foley whom we need to look at directly.
Diaz has been up and down from the minors, often filling in when the club is down an arm due to injury or has available space because of a doubleheader. Unimpressive thus far, the focus with him should be the full-time transition to a relief role.
The same thing could be said about Reid-Foley. There was a point where fans were going crazy for him. How could they not? Reid-Foley was going multiple innings and not allowing any runs to score. Then big league hitters caught up with him and his once memorable season turned into a well-below-average one. Currently on the IL with a 5.23 ERA on the year, Reid-Foley showed us the best and worst of his abilities.
This trade was obviously not made to help New York immediately. It gave them two arms and by proxy, a bat, they could potentially use this year. Diaz, Reid-Foley, and even Lee have all participated in MLB games this year. None did enough to dig in their heels on a roster spot.
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Fortunately, all are young and there is time to salvage the trade. Matz was supposed to help the Blue Jays much more than any of these three. If even one of them becomes a regular contributor in Queens and the Blue Jays lose Matz to free agency after not winning the 2021 World Series, there’s a clear victor in this trade. They wear blue—but you already knew that. They also have some orange.