Steven Matz’s elite talent and lengthy injury history could make him the ideal trade candidate for the New York Mets.
This was the year it was going to happen. This had to be it. Finally, in 2017 the stars would align and the New York Mets would watch Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler all pitch in the same rotation at the same time.
Fittingly, the Mets have played one game and are already dealing with multiple injures. Now, it’s worth considering trading one of the five aces.
Steven Matz likely won’t pitch until May at the earliest after being diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon. He could miss a month, or two or ten. You can never actually be certain given the decimation that has affected the Mets rotation over the last few years. However, when he returns to good health, it’s worth considering trading the young left hander.
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It’s obvious that other clubs are going to be wary of Matz’s injury history which includes Tommy John surgery, removal of bone spurs from his elbow, a lat issue and now an issue with his flexor tendon near his left elbow (amongst other injuries). His value is without question going to be somewhat depleted because of this, but there’s still enough reason for the Mets to get something more than useful in return.
Matz is still just 25 years old and won’t become an unrestricted free agent until 2022. He doesn’t even enter arbitration eligibility until 2019, per Spotrac. He’s only made 28 career starts, but holds a 3.40 regular season ERA in addition to a 3.68 postseason ERA (three starts).
A young left hander with a fastball that touches the mid-ninties is going to attract other teams, plain and simple. Yes, the injuries are a major cause for concern, but his upside and team friendly contract are likely to net the Mets a rich prospect package or legitimate Major League talent.
If Matz returns to health sometime in the first half and performs well, the Mets could flip him for a dominant late inning arm, along with other pieces. Should they wait until the offseason to move him, their options could expand depending on how free agency affects the 2018 roster.
In a perfect world, Matz returns to good health and helps the Mets compete in 2017. However, we’ve seen that it just doesn’t seem to be that simple for the New York Mets.
Depth was thought to be plentiful when spring training began, but the injuries to Matz and Seth Lugo have made the proverbial hairs of the front office a little more grey. However, Robert Gsellman‘s emergence should help bolster the rotation along with Wheeler’s return. If Rafael Montero‘s excellent spring was a sign of resurgence to his once heralded top prospect status, the Mets could be in a position to deal an asset.
Matz, a Long Island native who grew up a Mets fan, likely would not want to leave his childhood club. Ideally, the Mets want him to remain in the rotation for the long term. However, baseball is a business and Sandy Alderson is no stranger to that aspect of the game.
It might not be the most popular move, trading a hometown favorite, but it could benefit the Mets over the long term. If Matz can’t stay on the field, the Mets may be forced to let another team assume the high risk, high reward nature of their prized young lefty.