Before there was Max Scherzer on the New York Mets, the club was looking to bolster their roster with a Steven Matz reunion.
It sounds like a parody. Scherzer is in a completely different class than Matz. You don’t aim to sign one and end up with the other. Matz fills out your roster, Scherzer completely changes it.
Somehow, the Mets defied the logic. When they lost out on Matz, Steve Cohen got angry and made sure Scherzer would be his team’s big get of the offseason for the pitching staff. It turned out to be the best thing possible for the team, but what if Matz hadn’t turned his back on his original club? What would the team look like right now?
Everything we know about the Mets could be very different if Steven Matz signed with the team
Would we have gotten the glorious Black Friday shopping spree that gave the team three new everyday players? I think it’s still possible that the Mets could have had Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, and Starling Marte on the team. Just as likely, they could have signed much weaker players or maybe held off on doing much else to improve the team.
Something sparked in Cohen when he felt Matz’s agent behaved unprofessionally. He wanted vengeance. He wanted blood!
Billy Eppler’s first week as the general manager turned out to be an incredibly busy one. With the lockout looming and a deadline to get something done before it nearing, the Mets went out and shocked us all with four very smart signings.
Could the Mets have ended up making some unwise decisions if Steven Matz was a part of the 2022 roster?
Maybe we would have seen the team sign Kyle Seager, a veteran third baseman whose best days are well in the rearview mirror. He would have been a more ill-fitting player than Escobar whose versatility on the field makes him even more valuable to the Mets than just a temporary solution at a position with some more permanent answers in the minor leagues. Perhaps even Jonathan Villar comes back to get some third base starts.
In the outfield, maybe instead of Canha or Marte we get a lesser player coming off of a good year with a poorer track record or someone the Mets are hoping can rebound from a down season. I can see some Mets teams over the last 20 years signing Andrew McCutchen and hoping he’s better than the poor-average, high-power player he was for the Philadelphia Phillies. Or what about Eddie Rosario? As important as he was to the Atlanta Braves in the postseason, he has generally been a low OBP guy.
The Mets were going to make moves this winter to appear to get better. We shouldn’t have any doubts about that. This isn’t a year to roll back with the same players or try to rebuild.
If Matz had signed with the Mets, it may have changed what the front office in Flushing decided to do pre-lockout. Expectations have risen, however. With the rosters frozen, we’ll just need to hope Cohen is constantly reminded of how unprofessional Matz’s agent was. The more he remembers, the more free agent blood I’ll look to sign.