1 reason to love the Mets trade for Phil Maton, 1 reason to hate it

The Mets added some bullpen help and like always there's a reason to love and hate it.
Tampa Bay Rays v Minnesota Twins
Tampa Bay Rays v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

Shortly before their game against the Washington Nationals, the New York Mets acquired veteran reliever Phil Maton in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. David Stearns heard Brandon Nimmo’s plea for action from the day prior. He wasted no time in doing something.

The Mets will give up cash or a player to be named later for Maton. Cash is something they have plenty of. It’s one of the reasons to like the move immediately.

What about digging a little deeper specifically into who Maton is as a pitcher? Excluding some of the factors to love or hate it which extend to roster construction, let’s look at one positive and one negative specifically about the player that he is.

Love the Mets trade for Phil Maton because of his groundball rate

Despite some poor numbers elsewhere, Maton has turned into somewhat of a groundball pitcher. Averaging 49.5% through his first 35.1 innings this season, it’s well above the 41.5% for his career. One would think averaging half of batted balls on the ground would translate into a better season. This hasn’t been the case for Maton. He has a 4.58 ERA which falls just above a run per every other inning.

Hate the Mets trade for Phil Maton because of his poor strikeout and walk rates

The earned run average is one thing. Sometimes explainable with an excuse, Maton might actually be lucky. The 5.63 FIP suggests he should have a whole run more allowed per 9. A career-worst 4.6 walks per 9 and a low of 7.6 strikeouts per 9 combine together for some rationale as to why the year hasn’t gone so well for the veteran righty. We could live with one of them; low strikeout rate preferred. The walks, on the other hand, will be tough to accept when this has been the Achilles heel of the team in 2024.

For an early July trade, this isn’t bad

Maton has seen better days. His 2022 and 2023 seasons with the Houston Astros were arguably his best with ERAs of 3.84 and 3.00 respectively. Both of those seasons included a walk rate of less than 3.5 per 9 and more than 10 strikeouts per 9.

For a change, Maton didn’t improve once he joined the Rays organization like so many of his peers seem to do. We’ll have to hope it’s a different story with the Mets.