The New York Mets have traded Steven Matz to the Toronto Blue Jays for a trio of pitching prospects. Could that pave the way for another big move?
— New York Mets (@Mets) January 28, 2021
None of the three pitchers the Mets got for Matz are major names, but all of them carry some sort of value.
It wasn’t that long ago that Sean Reid-Foley was considered one of the top 100 prospects in MLB. He’s struggled as a starter in the majors, but he seems to be finding himself as a reliever.
Over 2019 and 2020 Reid-Foley has made 8 relief appearances. Over 7 of those appearances he’s allowed just one earned run. His only poor appearances came against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019, just a few days after making a start. The Dodgers roughed him up for five runs in 1.2 innings.
Reid-Foley is likely never going to live up to the expectations he had as a prospect. Still, don’t put it past him to become a strong multi-inning reliever.
The Mets also acquired Yennsy Díaz in the deal. Díaz is another major league ready reliever. He made his debut in 2019, though he didn’t pitch in the majors in 2020.
Díaz has a plus fastball and curveball, though his control has been an issue. The hope is that if a team can get him to throw strikes he could be a useful middle reliever.
Díaz almost certainly won’t make the Mets roster out of camp. That said, he’s decent depth for the bullpen, which the Mets have severely lacked in recent years.
The last piece of the trade is Josh Winckowski. A starter so far in his career, Winckowski’s raw stuff leaves a lot to be desired.
His fastball sits 93, but it lacks life. His slider is his best pitch, but it’s just above-average. His best tool may be his control and his pitchability.
The best-case scenario is that a team refines his stuff, gets his changeup up to average and that helps turn him into a back end starter. If that doesn’t happen it’s hard to see Winckowski even making the majors. His stuff alone isn’t really good enough for the bullpen.
Bigger implications on the New York Mets
The real crux of this trade is what it means for future moves. Andy Martino of SNY has long reported that a trade of Steven Matz had been lined up if the Mets needed to shed salary to make a bigger move.
Couple that with the reports that the Mets are the favorite for Trevor Bauer and the report that the Angles are out on Bauer, and things become a little clearer.
That doesn’t mean Bauer to the Mets is a guarantee. Jon Heyman of MLB Network actually reported the Mets attentions are elsewhere right now.
Mets’ focus at moment is believed elsewhere but Matz deal frees up a bit of cash for a potential Bauer pursuit
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 28, 2021
Still, it’s hard to see why else the Mets would trade Matz. If nothing else he would have been decent starting pitching depth even if he lost his spot. So, it’s hard to see how this doesn’t indicate a large move is on the way.