Steven Matz makes his Citi Field return with the St. Louis Cardinals this week which is as good of a time as any to look back at the trade that ended his New York Mets tenure.
Matz was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on January 27, 2021, for three pitchers. He had a successful year with the Blue Jays, going 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA. Now a member of the Cardinals in 2022, he returns to Citi Field 3-3 with a 6.40 ERA.
Toronto got a good one year out of him yet an absence from the postseason and a quick departure for the veteran lefty leaves them winless in this trade. What about the three players the Mets got back?
The Steven Matz trade didn’t make the Mets winners either
Sean Reid-Foley is the most well-known player the Mets acquired in the deal. Through 30.2 innings with the Mets, he is the owner of more than a lonely heart. He also has a 5.28 ERA. A member of the club’s Opening Day roster this year, Tommy John Surgery has claimed him after only 10 innings. We won’t see him on the field again until at least 2023. Even then, mop-up innings look to be his forte.
Yennsy Diaz was the other pitcher the Mets received who actually played for them. He managed to sneak in 25 innings for them last year with a 5.40 ERA to show for it. Earlier this year, he was designated for assignment but because he cleared waivers was able to accept a minor league assignment. He hasn’t been exceptional whatsoever in Triple-A this year. After 8.2 innings of relief work, he is 0-2 with a 12.46 ERA.
Finally, there’s Josh Winckowski. The third of the pitchers received in the deal, he is now with the Boston Red Sox Triple-A team where he has gone 1-0 with a 2.75 ERA as a starter. Winckowski ended up with Boston when on February 10, 2021, the Mets sent him there as part of the three-team deal where they acquired Khalil Lee.
Lee faced his own struggles in 2022 down in Triple-A. He was recently demoted further down the pipeline after a horrific start to what could have been a year where he gets some regular big league at-bats. Instead, he has to find his swing down in Single-A before the Mets even think about calling him up to the show.
When the Mets traded Matz, they were probably hoping to accomplish two things. One was to clear the roster spot. The other was to cross their fingers that one of the players they received for him would become a decent reliever. With Winckowski, they turned it into an outfield prospect who fell within their top ten.
More than a year later, it’s not looking so great. But luckily, it’s not completely over yet. These major setbacks with the three players the Mets have left involved in that trade are just par for the course when it comes to making a deal. Even if all three fail to ever play in a big league game again, at least it appears like the deal ends in a double-count.