Mets voice frustration as top pitching target snubs them after last-minute change of heart

The New York Mets wanted to bring back left-handed pitcher Steven Matz, who pitched the first six seasons of his big league career with them.

While the Mets were keen on securing his signature, the hurler reportedly had a last-minute change of heart and his agent failed to come back to them after the St. Louis Cardinals made him a four-year, $44 million offer he ended up accepting.

“(The) Mets are upset about the Matz situation and his last minute call to Cardinals. They had the impression he was going to come back to them for a final chance. Sources say Mets would have gone to that level ($44M, 4 years)”, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman explained via Twitter.

Matz had a fantastic 2021 campaign, with a 14-7 record, a 3.82 ERA. A 1.33 WHIP, and 144 strikeouts in 150.2 innings.

The Mets’ owner was an unhappy man this morning

“I’m not happy this morning. I’ve never seen such unprofessional behavior exhibited by a player’s agent. I guess words and promises don’t matter”, Mets’ owner Steve Cohen tweeted this morning, presumably about the Matz situation.

Matz’ market heated up this week, and it was clear he would sign before Thanksgiving. Lots of teams were behind his services, including the Jays, Mets, Cardinals, and many more.

Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Matz can make up to $48 million and will receive a signing bonus.

The Mets badly need rotation help after losing Noah Syndergaard to the Los Angeles Angels, and with Marcus Stroman currently a free agent, their depth consists of Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, Tylor Megill, and David Peterson. They need at least two or three arms, and were determined to bring back Matz after his one-year stint in Toronto.

However, it wasn’t meant to be, and the Mets will have to keep monitoring the market while they look for improvements. The Billy Eppler era didn’t start on the right foot, but there is still plenty of time to build a competitive roster.

New York Mets: Steven Matz Traded to the Toronto Blue Jays

The New York Mets have finally parted ways with Steven Matz as he heads to the Toronto Blue Jays after six roller-coaster seasons with the franchise. Zack Scott’s first trade as general manager resulted in the Mets getting Sean Reid-Foley, #26 prospect Yennsy Diaz, and #27 prospect Josh Winckowski in return. Could Matz’s trade signal a potential Trevor Bauer signing is imminent?

Over his Mets career, Matz pitched in 112 games (107 starts) with a 4.35 ERA. Matz never lived up to the top prospect status he garnered in the minor leagues. Home runs became Matz’s Achilles heel and it resulted in 1.7 per nine innings and a 4.83 ERA in his last four seasons.

Matz had one final chance to right his Mets career in 2020 as the second starter behind Jacob deGrom. After his first start of the season, he struggled mightily and finished with a 9.68 ERA. By the end of the season, Matz became a mop-up reliever and the odd-man out of the rotation this offseason.

Matz’s departure was only a matter of time after Carlos Carrasco and Joey Lucchesi were acquired. Missing out on D.J. LeMahieu, George Springer and Brad Hand made signing Bauer a realistic option. Including Aaron Loup’s deal, the Mets are $36 million under the luxury tax with Matz off the books.

Silence is the new Mets offseason motto but this makes Bauer’s signing imminent. If Bauer signed prior to the trade, Matz would waste a 40-man roster spot. With Matz out of the picture, Lucchesi would move into his role once Bauer signs.

Who Are The Prospects?

Reid-Foley has the most major league experience out of the trio. He threw 71.2 innings over parts of the last three seasons with a 4.40 ERA. Reid-Foley debuted as a starting pitcher but moved to the bullpen in 2020. He will likely remain in that role in the majors while starting games in Triple-A.

Diaz only faced seven batters in his 2019 debut and walked four of them. It was his lone appearance above Double-A where he had a 3.74 ERA before his promotion. Diaz is only 24-years old but throws in the mid-90s with good movement on his fastball. Winckowski is a 15th round pick and the youngest (22) out of the group. In 2019, he had a 2.69 ERA in 127.1 innings between Single-A and High-A.

None of the pitchers are groundbreaking moves but getting two top-30 prospects is a good exchange. Matz is damaged goods and during his peak, was nothing more than a mid-rotation starter. Let us not forget that the Mets have some good history with Blue Jays prospects while Sandy Alderson is in the organization.

New York Mets: What Lies Ahead in the Future of Steven Matz?

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

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?

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.

Bullpen Lefty

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.

Potential Trade?

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.

New York Mets opt to keep Steven Matz on a one-year deal

The New York Mets, in an attempt to bolster their rotation and overall pitching depth, decided to bring back left-handed pitcher Steven Matz ahead of yesterday’s non-tender deadline.

Bob Nightengale reported on Wednesday that the New York Mets were in agreement with the southpaw on a one-year deal worth $5.2 million. That way, both parties avoided the arbitration process.

Four members of the Mets were non-tendered last night, all pitchers: Chasen Shreve, Ariel Jurado, Paul Sewald, and Nick Tropeano. Outfielder Guillermo Heredia was also brought back on a one-year pact to serve as a backup option for all three spots.

On the other hand, the Mets decided to keep Matz around for at least one more season with the hope that he can leave his 2020 behind and replicate the form that made him a successful hurler in 2019 and in previous seasons in Queens.

The Mets’ southpaw is capable of more

While battling left shoulder bursitis at one point in the weird 2020 campaign, Matz finished with an ERA of 9.68, a 7.76 FIP, and a 4.15 xFIP. In nine games, he pitched 30.2 innings and had a 10.57 K/9 and a 2.93 BB/9, both excellent marks.

However, the primary issue in his statistical profile is the 4.11 HR/9 mark he had. No pitcher can survive in the major leagues with such a horrible number, but the Mets are banking on an improvement with a much larger sample in 2021.

The truth is that the Mets couldn’t afford to let Matz walk. He’s capable of a much better showing if he has health on his side, as was the case in 2019. That season, he finished with a 4.21 ERA in 160.1 innings. His career earned run average is a much more palatable 4.35, and given that the Mets have virtually no rotation depth beyond the five options, it made sense to keep Matz around.

Find out what the Mets are planning to do with Steven Matz ahead of the non-tender deadline

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

The New York Mets, now that Sandy Alderson revealed that he will make baseball decisions from now on, are actively looking for ways to put the best possible roster for the 2021 season and beyond. That includes analyzing some potential free agent signings, trades, and deciding which players to keep and re-sign of their already existing core.

The New York Mets are in need of several starters. Marcus Stroman will be coming back next season and will join Jacob deGrom and David Peterson under contract, with Noah Syndergaard expected back sometime around June or July. The wild card here would be Steven Matz, who is arbitration-eligible.

The deadline for teams to decide whether to tender contracts to players eligible for the arbitration process is Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. ET. Matz had a horrible season in 2020, marred by a left shoulder bursitis and some ugly numbers.

The Mets’ lefty struggled in 2020

In nine games and six starts, the Mets’ lefty somehow managed to compile a 0-5 record and a -0.7 fWAR. In 30.2 frames, he had a 9.68 ERA and a 7.76 FIP, although his xFIP (4.15) wasn’t as bad as the other run-prevention stats.

According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, the Mets are likely to tender a contract to Steven Matz before Wednesday’s deadline. It isn’t a surprising development since the team can’t afford to lose capable starters that wouldn’t be so expensive.

If he returns his 2019 form (4.21 ERA in 30 starts and 160.1 innings) he could be a valuable back-end starter or a depth option should the Mets bring Trevor Bauer, Masahiro Tanaka, Jake Odorizzi or another alternative for the rotation via free agency or trade.

Matz is still 29 years old and has had success in the past. According to Tim Healey of Newsday, he has been working with Phil Regan with the hope of getting his career back on track. The Mets paid him $5 million in 2020.

New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Steven Matz

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

Steven Matz put together one of the worst pitching seasons in New York Mets history. The rotation needed Matz to step up at their two starter, behind Jacob deGrom and was the complete opposite of reliable. After two solid starts to begin the season, everything went downhill quickly.

Matz had a 3.18 ERA over his first two starts of the season, which included holding the Atlanta Braves to one run over six innings in his first start of the season. Despite the two good outings, Matz was consistently leaving the ball up in the strike zone and struggled to put hitters away with two strikes.

Home Run Machine

The following seven outings (four starts) for Matz featured a brutal stretch on the mound. Matz pitched to a 13.50 ERA, allowed 11 home runs, and a .360 batting in 19.1 innings pitched. He also dealt with a left shoulder injury, which kept him out for two weeks.

The reason for Matz’s struggles was his inability to pitch like a true sinkerballer. Matz threw a majority of his sinkers up and down the middle. When throwing that pitch 53.7% of the time, it became batting practice fastballs that hitters had a .322 batting average. Matz’s offspeed also spent plenty of time in a similar real estate as the sinker. While it was not up, it was still down the middle far too often.

His changeup was the one pitch that had some promise, but Matz has not mastered it. When he throws it anywhere from the knees to the ankles, it is a tremendous weapon for him. The changeup was in the upper part of the league when it came to horizontal and vertical movement. It netted him the most strikeouts of any pitch and had a 32.6% whiff rate.

What is the Fix?

The soft/medium/hard contact rates are very similar to 2019, so where did he go wrong? Matz’s biggest difference was the ground ball, line drive, fly ball ratios. In 2019, they were 19.8%, 47.1%, 33.0% compared to 28.4%, 32.6%, 38.9%. Combine those numbers with his average exit velocity increasing by almost three miles per hour, and you have a disaster.

The biggest fix Matz can make is attempting to start every pitch he throws at the knees and letting the natural movement take its course. Working down in the zone alone would lower the extremely high home run rate. The next thing for Matz would be to master the areas 6-10 inches off the plate on both sides. This would make hitters uncomfortable with digging in easily and allow his sinker to work off the inside corner to right-hand hitters.

I hope he does figure things out because he is living out a dream to pitch consistently in his home state. It was clear that his confidence was shattered at the end of the season, and nothing was working for him. Luckily, he will get one more opportunity to show he can live up to the prospect expectations he once had.

Matz will come into the 2021 season on the outside looking in of the Mets rotation. He is in the final year of his deal before free agency and could be a useful part of the bullpen or as a swingman. Do not be surprised to see the Mets cut ties with Matz and eat the money if he does not improve quickly in the spring.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Sinker: 35 (45), He threw it his hardest since his rookie, but the movement lacked due to its poor location.

Changeup: 50 (55), Could be his saving grace but still has to refine it.

Curveball: 20 (30), Only thrown 15% of the time, but hitters batted .400 against it.

Slider: 30 (30), Only threw 30 of them but hitters hit .250 against it with a homer.

Command: 20 (40), There is wild out of the zone, and then there is wild down the middle. Matz was the latter.

Overall: 20 (40), Absolutely horrible season, but somehow I believe a rebound is possible.

New York Mets: Will Steven Matz be a starter or a reliever in 2021?

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

The New York Mets had the worst of lucks when it comes to starting pitching in the condensed 2020 season. They lost Noah Syndergaard for the whole year and part of 2021, and pitchers such as Michael Wacha, David Peterson, Steven Matz and even Jacob deGrom had to deal with some sort of injury.

Speaking of Matz, he was arguably the worst starter in the New York Mets‘ roster this year. In nine games (six of them starts) and 30.2 frames, the left-hander had a ghastly 9.68 ERA with a 7.76 FIP, although his xFIP was a much more palatable 4.15. He was worth -0.7 fWAR in a regretable performance.

However, he should get a free pass, at least to some extent. He was diagnosed with left shoulder bursitis in August, and if you have been following baseball for quite some time, you know that the worst kind of ailment a hurler can suffer would be a shoulder injury.

Matz was so bad as a starter (he had a 10.17 ERA and batters were virtually prime Babe Ruth against him, slashing .342/.388/.703 with a .449 wOBA) that once he returned from his injury, the Mets tried him in an unfamiliar role: as a reliever.

The Mets’ lefty had a home run problem

Things weren’t much better there: he had a 7.20 ERA, and while batters only hit .211 against him, they slugged .684 and had a .376 wOBA. It was clear that, no matter the role, Matz was having notorious issues with the long ball.

For his career, the Mets’ lefty has allowed 1.49 home runs per each nine innings pitched. This year, it was an absurdly high 4.11. His HR/FB is 17.5% in his six-year tenure, but this year, it jumped to 37.8%.

No matter what role he fulfils with the Mets next year, Matz will have to A) show his shoulder is healthy, and B) trim the home runs. For his career, he has a 4.35 ERA, 4.49 FIP and a 4.01 xFIP, and the vast majority of his innings have come as a starter.

What role will the Mets assign Matz next year? It will largely depend on what kind of offseason they have.

New York Mets: Only Fitting For A Blowout To End The Wilpon’s Reign

New York Mets, Billy Hamilton

Mediocrity is the first word that comes to mind in the broken marriage between the New York Mets and the Wilpon ownership. Their decisions, hirings, and lousy PR led to the Mets becoming the laughing stock of baseball and the butt of every joke. The Mets 15-5 loss to the Washington Nationals closed an ugly 18 years of Wilpon majority ownership.

Seth Lugo likely made his final start as a Met in which he allowed six runs and did not make it out of the second inning. The lack of quality starting rotation depth put the Mets in a situation where they had to force Lugo to be a starter. Should the Mets fix their pitching rotation, Lugo would play very well in his natural bullpen role.

Early Rout

This game was pretty well decided when the Nats had 11 runs after the third inning concluded. Brad Brach and Steven Matz concluded their poor seasons with poor outings, allowing the Nationals to put the game away. Dellin Betances also continued the trend when he made his second outing off the IL. Jeurys Familia was the only reliever to complete two innings without allowing a run and finished his season with a 3.71 ERA.

The two bright spots came from the bats of Pete Alonso and Guillermo Heredia. Alonso had three hits, including two home runs, to finish up the season on a good note. Heredia had two hits and drove in two runs as he hopes to earn an invite to camp in 2021.

The Mets finished their season at 26-34, tied for last place in the NL East. They fell under the .500 mark seven games into the season and never climbed out of that hole in their disappointing season. Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson inherit a broken organization, filled with potential. With their window to win still wide open, expect the front office to revamp this roster for the 2021 season.

New York Mets: 2020 has been a rough year for Steven Matz

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

The 2020 season hasn’t been kind to New York Mets‘ starter Steven Matz. He was coming off a successful 2019 in which he had a 4.21 ERA in 160.1 innings, but this time around, he has battled injuries and ineffectiveness and has an unsightly 9.79 ERA in 26.2 frames. He has had to deal with a left shoulder ailment and his usual first-inning issues.

The left shoulder bursitis that he had in early September clearly limited, and Matz had to travel back and forth between the Mets’ alternate training site and the big league camp in search for answers.

In his first start since August 15 – he had a brief move to the bullpen – Matz was the losing starter for the New York Mets as they got thrashed 15-2 by the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. In 2.2 innings, he conceded six runs, eight hits and three walks.

With the loss, the Mets fell to 23-28, and it is now very difficult to qualify for the postseason with so many teams vying for a Wild Card spot and less than 10 games left in the calendar.

“It always comes down to executing pitches,” Matz said according to “The sharpness wasn’t there. Executing pitches wasn’t there. I gave those guys a chance, and they capitalized.”

“The command hasn’t been there,” manager Luis Rojas said. “The execution of the pitches, the sequencing … made it big innings against him. From the first inning basically, that was happening to him, where he was not able to execute his pitches.”

The Mets expect more from him

With a mid-90s fastball and a big curveball, it is perplexing that Matz can’t get better results. His command issues are just too much to overcome.

“His stuff is one of the things we like a lot — the fastball velo, the changeup, the contrast that he can create, the angle of his pitches,” Rojas said.

“It’s been a frustrating year for me,” Matz said. “I came into Spring Training 2.0. I was feeling great. I pitched great early on. For it to go this way is really frustrating. … I’ve just got to keep working hard. All I can do is keep putting my best foot forward.”

New York Mets: Matz Fails in Return to Rotation in 15-2 Loss

The New York Mets were out of options in their starting rotation, so Steven Matz lucked into the start against the Atlanta Braves. Matz’s outing went exactly the way we all expected it to. The Braves treated it like batting practice and gave the same treatment to Franklyn Kilome to put up a 15-2 victory.

The only savior for the Mets would have been a rainout because of the lack of confidence in Matz. It was the same pitcher they had before his IL stint, and he put the Mets in a hole early. Over 2.2 innings pitched, Matz allowed six runs on eight hits, including two more home runs. It was part of the Braves scoring in the first four innings of the game.

Kilome returned to the Mets roster before the game since the Mets needed relief help. He provided relief but did not offer any help in the game. Kilome allowed six runs and another two home run to the Braves offense.

Hughes to the Rescue

Jared Hughes came in for a rare long relief appearance throwing 3.2 innings and allowing three more runs and two more homers. While it was not the best performance, it saved the Mets from overusing their bullpen.

Brad Brach and Todd Frazier (you read that right) were the only pitchers with scoreless appearances. While Brach’s was only a one-out cameo, Frazier hurled a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth. He even got Adam Duvall to strikeout looking on a knuckleball.

On the other side, Max Fried continued his Cy Young campaign. Over five innings, he only had three strikeouts but held the Mets to one run, keeping his ERA under two. Jeff McNeil provided the only offense off Fried with an RBI double in the fifth.

Amed Rosario provided three of the five Mets hits on the night. His sixth-inning single gave the Mets their second and final run of the game.

On Saturday, David Peterson tries to become the first Mets starter to make it to the third inning in three games. He faces Ian Anderson at 7:07 p.m. ET from Citi Field.