Capping off an eventful Wednesday that included a new GM and another lefty reliever, the New York Mets have made one last move. Left-handed pitcher Steven Matz has been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for three right-handed pitchers. According to Ben Nicholson-Smith over at Sportsnet, Toronto is sending Sean Reid-Foley and prospects Yennsy Diaz and Josh Winckowski to New York.
Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz and Josh Winckowski to Mets for Matz per source
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 28, 2021
Matz Moves On
Drafted in 2009, Matz was the longest tenured player on the Mets. The oft-injured starter has had an up-and-down career, shifting between stretches of brilliance and destitution. After posting career-worst numbers in 2020 (9.68 ERA), he would have needed to battle for a contested spot in the rotation this Spring. By trading him, the Mets free up over $5 million in cap space and open up a roster spot. With the team reportedly all in on Trevor Bauer, this money might just be what puts things over the edge.
It’s not all bad for the Blue Jays, however, as Matz still has decent upside. He’s still only 29 and owned a 4.05 ERA from 2015-2019. He was also a major contributor in the Mets 2015 World Series push, going 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA that year. In the playoffs, he put up a 3.68 ERA in three starts against some formidable rosters. Described as a possible headcase, a change of scenery might be what it takes to rekindle Matz’s potential.
A Trio of Arms
Reid-Foley is the most intriguing of the three pitchers. He made his MLB debut in 2018, but was still the Blue Jays sixth overall prospect in 2019. Things haven’t quite gone as well as hoped for the 25-year-old. In 21 big league appearances (13 starts), he owns a 4.40 ERA, 5.20 FIP and 1.605 WHIP. Control has been the biggest issue thus far in his young career. Though he’s been stretched out as a starter in the minors, he’ll most likely slot into a long-relief role.
Diaz, 24, was Toronto’s 26th overall prospect. Like Reid-Foley, he’s mostly been used as a starter in the minors, compiling a 3.84 ERA in 96 games (84 starts). In 2019, he finished his first season in AA with a promising 3.74 ERA. However, he’s still projected to be a middle-reliever in the majors, even making one relief appearance for the Blue Jays in 2019, giving up two earned runs in 0.2 innings. His most impressive feature is a fastball that has topped out at 98 mph.
Winckowski, 22, was the Blue Jays’ 27th ranked prospect and is the biggest unknown of the bunch. That said, his minor league numbers are solid. He currently has a 3.35 ERA across 54 games at four different levels. He’s most recently appeared in High A Ball, finishing with a 3.19 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts). Like Diaz, his fastball shows a lot of promise, topping out at 97 mph.
While none of them are top prospects, all three provide greater depth to a Mets farm system that has all but depleted its upper level pitching talent.
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