Wednesday, January 27, 2021

MLB Trade Review: Blue Jays acquire Matz


 

       The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired LHP Steven Matz from the New York Mets in exchange for RHPs Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz and Josh Winckowski.

       I really don't like this trade for Toronto. Matz has really fallen off recently, as he was awful in 2019 and was demoted to the bullpen, but he had a great July and August. Those two months could be what the Blue Jays are looking for, but you would have to ignore what he did in 2020 to believe that. Matz averaged more than one earned run allowed per inning, so an ERA over nine, and he got shelled, with an average exit velocity of 91.5 miles per hour and a 13.5 barrel percentage. He is best as a fifth starter who goes five innings on average, which isn't something that is worth three young players. Even worse, Matz isn't young, and after he earns $5.2 million in 2021, he will be a free agent. 

       Matz, 29, had a 9.68 ERA with 36 strikeouts, a 1.696 WHIP and a 7.76 FIP in 30.2 innings for the Mets in 2020. In his MLB career, all in New York, Matz has a 4.35 ERA with 552 strikeouts, a 1.320 WHIP and a 4.49 FIP in 579.2 innings. 

      The Mets did pretty well with this trade given Matz's current value, but these three players likely won't add much to the big league team. They add the former 26 and 27th best prospect in the Jays system (MLB Pipeline) in Diaz and Winckowski, who have combined for 0.2 innings pitched in the majors, and that came in 2019, when Diaz allowed two earned runs with four walks in one game. Both are minor league starters, and Winckowski, a 2016 15th rounder, has posted solid numbers in the low minor league levels. Reid-Foley is the only player who could impact the Mets in the near future. He has pitched in 21 games for the Jays over the last three seasons, with 13 of those being starts. He was a second round pick in 2014, and is still fairly young. His main issue is his control, as he has walked two batters for every three MLB innings he has pitched on average. The Mets clear some salary here and a roster spot, potentially to sign top free agent starter Trevor Bauer. Even if they don't end up signing Bauer, or any free agent starter for that matter, the Mets would still have Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Marcus Stroman, Joey Lucchesi and David Peterson as a rotation with Noah Syndergaard recovering from Tommy John surgery. 

      Reid-Foley, 25, had a 1.35 ERA with six strikeouts in 6.2 innings for the Blue Jays in 2020. In his MLB career, all in Toronto, Reid-Foley has a 4.40 ERA with 76 strikeouts, a 1.605 WHIP and a 5.20 FIP in 71.2 innings. 

      Diaz, 24, had a 3.74 ERA with 116 strikeouts and a 1.233 WHIP in 144.1 innings for AA New Hampshire in 2019. In his minor league career, Diaz has a 3.84 ERA with 429 strikeouts and a 1.287 WHIP in 481 innings. 

      Winckowski, 22, had a 2.69 ERA with 108 strikeouts and a 1.202 WHIP in 127.1 innings for Single-A Lansing and High-A Dunedin in 2019. In his MiLB career, he has a 3.35 ERA with 237 strikeouts and a 1.297 WHIP in 263 innings. 

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