Steven Matz is coming off a brutal year for the New York Mets as he finished with a 9.68 ERA in 30.2 innings. Matz is left out of a starting rotation that depended on him to be the number two starter behind Jacob deGrom. With a mostly complete rotation and Trevor Bauer still looming in free agency, what is next for Matz?
Steven Matz, Wicked 86mph Changeup. ?
Bend the knee. pic.twitter.com/J0m4q7H2s7
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 10, 2020
The Mets coaching staff raved about the way Matz looked during summer camp, but improvements only showed in his first start of the season. Things went downhill quickly as the home runs and injures quickly piled on to his lackluster season. By the end of the 60-game stretch, Matz ended up in mop-up a role out of the bullpen.
At the moment, the Mets still need a left-handed reliever. There are still plenty of options left on the free-agent market, but Matz is still in the running. At his peak, Matz could become a left-handed version of what the Mets hoped to receive from Robert Gsellman. It is unlikely Matz becomes a reliever this quickly unless injuries occur to other bullpen arms.
Matz’s inconsistency makes him a questionable part of any starting rotation. Ironically, Matz has the same amount of sub-four ERA seasons as Bauer. The big difference between the two is Bauer’s Cy Young winning potential. Even at his best, Matz is just a mid-rotation starting pitcher. He is already the odd-man-out of a pitching staff looking to make more additions before pitchers and catchers report.
Matz’s stock is meager, especially since he was at the bottom of the league in hard-hit and whiff rates. There are plenty of teams who would take the risk on his $5.2 million deal. Matz is left-handed and has multiple strong seasons in his past, both alluring to teams needing rotation help. No matter for which team Matz pitches for, his Achilles heel will always be the home run. Matz has never had a season where his HR/9 is below 1.0, and it is surprising since he is a sinker-ball pitcher.
Matz’s contract is non-guaranteed and allows the Mets to cut him during the middle of spring training. He will likely make it to Port St. Luice as a Met, but the odds are stacked against him to leave with the Mets.