The free agent rejection from 2021 is the best contract Billy Eppler dodged

St. Louis Cardinals v Seattle Mariners
St. Louis Cardinals v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

We all remember where we were when the New York Mets were about to bring back Steven Matz after a year with the Toronto Blue Jays. Even Steve Cohen thought it was happening.

Then, for maybe the first time in his life, someone said “no” to Cohen. Matz took a four-year deal worth $44 million to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals instead. This piled onto the rejection from Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard toward the qualifying offer. Cohen was mad and took to Twitter to let everyone know about it.

A full season and a handful of starts later into the 2023 season, the Matz rejection looks like the best thing to happen to Billy Eppler in his early days as the general manager.

The Mets almost brought back Steven Matz and thank goodness they didn’t

Matz was injured for a good portion of the 2022 season. Mets fans can believe this. It was often the case for Matz during his time in New York.

He’d make only 10 starts and 5 relief appearances for the Cardinals last season. In those 48 innings he was 5-3 with a 5.25 ERA.

The road has been bumpy for him to start off the 2023 campaign. Now 5 starts in, Matz is 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA. The Cardinals have lost every single one of his starts. He hasn’t gone beyond 5.2 innings in any of them.

The Cardinals have a whole lot of problems even beyond just Matz. The Milwaukee Brewers have been as good as advertised. The Pittsburgh Pirates are exceeding everyone’s expectations beyond belief. Even the Chicago Cubs are competing early on.

Imagine the Mets with Matz’s current contract on the books and this kind of output. You probably can imagine it. We’ve seen the worst of him up close.

Matz is in only his second year with St. Louis and he’s already one of the most obvious back contract swap players. He could’ve been here. Thankfully, his agent thought differently.