Mets can still easily win last year's Steven Matz trade
By Tim Boyle
Last January, the New York Mets traded Steven Matz to the Toronto Blue Jays for three young arms. Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz, and Josh Winckowski were the three dealt to Queens. Winckowski was traded only a few weeks later to the Boston Red Sox as part of a three-team deal that also involved the Kansas City Royals. The Mets would receive outfielder Khalil Lee in this deal, also losing Freddy Valdez in the move.
This second trade the Mets got involved in was a layered one with many minor leaguers swapping organizations. Its connection to the Matz deal makes that original transaction even more complicated.
However, the Mets still have a great chance to easily win the original Matz trade.
Steven Matz gave the Blue Jays one great season, the Mets can get much more from their additions
Essentially, we can boil this trade down into one move. The Mets trade Matz and Valdez for Reid-Foley, Diaz, and Lee. Because Winckowski was a member of three different organizations in this one, we can kind of write him off entirely as far as the swap with Toronto is concerned.
Matz had a very good year with the Blue Jays in 2021 to the point that he was able to turn it into a four-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals this winter. And as we all already know, before he put pen to paper with the Cardinals, the Mets were heavily interested.
Meanwhile, Valdez has yet to play a professional game outside of his teenage years. He has a long way to go before there’s any regret from the Mets’ side of things. At least for now, there’s nothing to be too upset about.
Outside of Valdez becoming a big league star or Winckowski throwing a wrench in everything by doing the same, the winner in the Matz trade will ultimately come down to what the three players the Mets received accomplish.
The Mets have already gotten a taste of what those three players can do
Reid-Foley and Diaz were not very good for the Mets in 2021. Reid-Foley had a short stint as one of the team’s mop-up men with some promising results. However, his overall numbers included a 5.23 ERA in 20.2 innings of work.
Diaz was pretty much the same except he never had any short-lived hype train pass through the fans. In his 25 innings of work, Diaz had a 5.40 ERA.
Each of these pitchers joined the Mets with some experience as starters. However, the Mets made the decision to use them as relievers last season both in the majors and minor leagues. It’s actually probably the best thing they could do. Unless they are fully confident in their abilities, seeing what they can do in a more limited capacity is a wiser direction to point them.
Reid-Foley and Diaz seem to have a long way to go before they can dig their heels in as regulars in the team’s bullpen. Lee, on the other hand, might be a little closer to regular playing time.
Lee was actually the worst of the three at the major league level last year, going 1 for 18 in limited action. He was rushed to the major leagues out of a need for an outfielder. Luckily for him, Lee had a very good year in Triple-A.
Lee’s season with Syracuse included a .274/.451/.500 slash line that also included 14 home runs and 37 RBI. It’s that outstanding OBP that has Mets fans blushing most. The ability to get on base at any level is a great one to have. If Lee can figure out how to bring this with him to the big league Mets and improve in other areas, the Mets could come away as the big fat winners in the Matz trade.
The Blue Jays have already gotten everything they could from this deal. The result was one solid season and a few feet shy of the playoffs.
The Mets’ additions are nowhere near over. Grading a trade way ahead of the final results can be subjective. For now, the Mets just need one of these three—Reid-Foley, Diaz, or Lee—to click in the major leagues for an extended period of time. When this happens, it’s time to raise the victory flag.